Our sins try the patience of God; they deplete the human soul of God’s grace and corrupts the heart (Matt.15:18). However, our sins can never exhaust God’s love for us (Ps.136:1-9). Our salvation is God’s delight and happiness (Lk.15:7; Ezek.33:11). The purity of one’s heart is his/her salvation. It is the forum of God’s grace. That is what guarantees humankind personal intimacy with God and full participation in the history and economy of salvation.
Ahaz speaks today of the existing tension between the House of David and the Lord. Their disobedience and defiance wearied the Lord’s patience. According to Ahaz, God would not surrender under the weight of humankind’s infidelity. Instead, God’s plan was to send them a saviour born of a virgin to free them from their sins and to reinstate them in his love – thus making Mary, his Mother the Mediatrix of all graces and in her depicted the beauty of a sinless life.
Purity means everything to God. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the ideal model of purity. She epitomizes in the sixth Beatitude: “Blessed are the pure in heart: they shall see God (Matt.5:8).” The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary clearly demonstrates God’s intent and purpose to teach humankind the dignity of purity and its divine reward. It enables humankind to embody Christ as Mary did and bring forth the first fruits of the kingdom. Purity enhances the beauty of the temple of God; it preserves its consecration and sets it apart for sacred duties (2Tim.3:17). Mary’s role in the economy of salvation as the Mother of God is a powerful witness to this truth. She begs us to imitate her purity.
Purity is an essential criterion for full inclusion into the economy of salvation. In the absence of sin, the human soul is enriched by God’s grace. Grace is God’s gift of sanctification and salvation. Not only did Ahaz prophesied that the Mother of the saviour would be a virgin but according to the Annunciation story, God sent the Archangel to the Virgin engaged to Joseph and consulted with her to become his Mother. In his salutation, the first thing the Gabriel stated was ‘You are full of grace.’ In other words, her purity of heart made her ideally suitable to become the Mother of God. Jesus much later challenged his listeners and by extension, all of us, to imitate his Mother by being faithful to the will his Father (Matt.12:50). That is we must open our hearts to the power of God's grace.
The concept of purity and virginity are consistent throughout the Advent narratives. It is intimately related to the Lord’s idea of righteousness, justice, and peace. Since it is the righteous intentions of the heart that will judge us worthy in the end. In other words, Christ’s second coming is delayed because until now no one is as fitting as Mary to welcome Christ back into the world to receive a just judgment (2Pet.3:8)). Yes! Our salvation is the happiness and glory of God. Advent offers us this glorious opportunity to reclaim a sense of purity and to prepare ourselves for the Lord’s second coming.
Lord, prepare me to be a living sanctuary for you.