A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke (Lk1:26-38)
In the sixth month, 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, favored one! 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: She Never Said No to God
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, today we celebrate the feast of your Mother, the Immaculate Conception. Help me contemplate the glories of Mary and strive to imitate her virtues of faith and charity. Give me the graces I need to do this meditation with all my heart, attention and affection. Make me docile to the inspirations you generously give me.
Petition: Lord, increase my faith and love.
1. Gabriel Was Sent to a Virgin Named Mary. Mary was deep in prayer in her own home and was probably praying for the redemption of her people from their sin. Her prayer was deeply personal, and it must have been the right moment for God to send his messenger to her. God always knows the right moment to ask us to be generous to his will, and he helps us to follow through with generosity. Lord, open up my heart to receive your inspirations and will, and to be generous in fulfilling your plan in my life.
2. Hail Full of Grace. How often we get confused about what we celebrate in this feast. Here we concentrate on a young woman hailed as “full of grace.” In Mary, there was no stain of original sin, even from the day she was conceived in the womb of St Ann. She is truly full of grace and enriched by God with gifts appropriate for her role as the Mother of God. She received these gifts by a “singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, her Son” (CCC 491). Because of this grace, Mary was able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation and all that it demanded from her. She was able to trust in God completely.
3. Let It Be Done to Me. Mary’s answer was one that all of creation waited for. Once Gabriel proposed God’s will to her, he waited for the answer with great eagerness because all creation needed her to say “Yes”. But would she? Everyday, we receive numerous opportunities to choose whether or not to follow God’s calling or inspirations. It wasn’t always easy for Mary to believe, yet it was her faith that made her follow God’s will until the end of her life. Here, I need to contemplate her, move my heart and will to decide always for Christ, and give witness to my faith and my Catholic identity in every moment of the day. Let it be done to me….
Dialogue with Christ: Jesus, how many times am I weak and don’t give you the attention you deserve. Help me to be more attentive to you in my life and not be afraid to be what I have been called to be through baptism. If I am still discerning a vocation, Lord, give me the courage and strength to confront that call with love and generosity because I know that I will never outdo you in generosity. Keep me close to you and faithful until the end.
Resolution: I will make a special visit to Mary today, asking her to intercede before God for my family and my country.
Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC