“Where are you?”

This morning while praying the lectionary readings I was struck by a question in the first reading, Genesis 1: 9-20: “Where are you?”

Adam is hiding. He is not out in the open. He’s ashamed of his nakedness, his vulnerability. He has not listened to and followed the word of the Lord.

Where am I?

When I read the Gospel, Luke 1: 26-38, the story of the Annunciation, I was struck by Mary’s final response to the angel. “I am the servant of the Lord” is the most common translation. But I remembered  a different translation, used in the Angelus: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord” – obviously a direct translation from the Latin: “Ecce ancilla Domini.”

I searched several translations in English, Spanish, and French. Only the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) provided what I think might be the best rendition: “Here I am, the servant of the Lord.”

I also checked Gustavo Gutierrez’s commentary on the feast. Lo and behold, he quotes Mary: “He aquí la sierva del Señor.” – “Behold here the servant of the Lord.”

I checked the Greek – Ιδoυ  η  δoυλη κυριoυ – and I think the NRSV and Gutierrez have it right.

And if that is so, Mary is actually answering the question that God asks Adam in the Garden.

She is there – the servant of the Lord, open to God’s will, vulnerable.

Where am I?

Am I hiding myself before God, trying to hide my vulnerability that God is all too aware of? Am I hiding from myself, from my faults and sinfulness? Am I hiding from the  simple greatness to which God is calling me – to be a bearer of God to the world?

As the medieval Dominican mystic Meister Eckhart once wrote, “What good is it if Mary gave birth to the son of God centuries ago, if I do not also give birth to the Son of God in my time and culture?”

“Where are you?” God continues to ask us.


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