Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year B (December 24, 2017): Our personal connection to Mary

Thứ Bảy, 23-12-2017 | 15:56:40

Today’s Readings:

2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16
Ps 89:2-5, 27-29
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38

USCCB Podcast of the Readings:

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.

“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

Good News Reflection: 

This Sunday’s Gospel shows us how the mission of Christ affected the Virgin Mary even before Jesus was conceived in her womb.

Three decades later, Jesus would become the Savior of the world. However, that is not when his salvation plan began. Jesus is God; he has always existed. He is the uncreated Divine Son, the Person of the Holy Trinity who, as we proclaim in the Nicene Creed, was “born of the Father before all ages, God from God….”

His salvation plan could – and did – impact Mary since the moment of her own conception.

In order for God to come into our world in the flesh, his Spirit totally bathed Mary in his pure, holy presence. Therefore, even though she could not understand how the promised Messiah could be conceived within her, since she’d had no sexual relations, by the grace of God’s Spirit she could know that God was the one who was asking for it and God was the one who was doing it. That’s all she needed.

All of us are called by God to carry the presence of Christ and birth him more fully into the world. What are you doing about it? How much are you fulfilling your divine destiny? Remember, he always empowers us to accomplish whatever he asks us to do. God knows what he’s doing when he calls us to continue what Mary began, and he is always trustworthy and dependable. There is nothing to fear, no reason to hold back from fulfilling our true destiny.

With this in mind, when he asks us to do something for his kingdom, of course our answer is yes, right? Why wouldn’t it be? Of course we want to cooperate with his plan, and we say yes to his plan even when we don’t understand it nor see how God could possibly do what he says he’ll do.

Often, we feel inadequate, because we know we are weak, sinful, and unqualified. Don’t trust your feelings about it; trust God. Don’t trust your feelings about it; trust God.

Questions for Personal Reflection:
When was the last time you said to God, “But how can this be? You want me to do WHAT? I don’t understand why!” What were you afraid of? How strong was your trust in God?

Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
When God chooses you for a task or responsibility, what helps you move from uncertainty or confusion or reluctance into saying “yes”? When the plans of God don’t make sense or they seem unpleasant, how do you overcome your reluctance?

Today’s Prayer:

Your plans and your timing, my Lord, are perfect. Help me to believe in You beyond my understanding and my opinion of events. Amen.

© 2017 by Terry A. Modica

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