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Letter from Fr David Sherwood

My dear friends

The fourth Sunday in Advent has the Blessed Virgin Mary at its centre.

If you cut away the Xmas (spelled so deliberately) frippery let us get to the reality of the journey of Mary from the innocent early teenager to the reality of her as Mother of God. We know nothing about Mary’s background, but all the evidence points to her coming from an ordinary family. She was betrothed to a carpenter, a manual worker. Clearly the family were observant Jews. We should never forget that Jesus was born a Jew and that Christianity is derived from Judaism.

Mary suffered mentally from the time Gabriel appeared to her. Because the gospel is very much a summary we have no idea how long it took Mary to make up her mind and agree to give birth to Jesus. She was given the grace to do so, but think of the humility of God by making himself rely on the word of a girl in her early teens. The meeting with Joseph must have been terrible because to begin with he would not accept that Mary’s pregnancy was derived from God. Then there was the journey to Bethlehem which must have been painful in the ninth month of the pregnancy on a bouncy donkey.

The birth was in a rough outbuilding with no friendly midwife on hand to help. It was all for Jesus. If only our own lives were lived all for Jesus.

With my love, Fr David

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