The Gospel According to Luke 1:26-38
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, 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.
Opening Prayer: Almighty God, who command us to prepare the way for Christ the Lord, grant in your kindness, we pray, that no infirmity may weary us as we long for the comforting presence of our heavenly physician. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen.
Encounter Christ: Let us consider today that, long before we were born, we were called by God to know, to love and to serve him. We have been the constant recipients of his blessings. Do we notice these in our daily lives? Do we take time to listen to the still, small voice of God in our day?
Mary was listening! She heard the message of the angel and responded with an unconditional ‘yes’. We also can become filled with grace if, like her, we listen and respond with our resounding and unconditional ‘yes’ to all that God wants from us.
This scene is an image of what true prayer is about. God comes to visit us through a messenger – a line from scripture, an event, and a memory. I entertain God! God takes the initiative, and greets me, surprisingly as ‘the favored one’. What does it feel like to be God’s favorite?
God has something in mind for us to do; just like Mary, we are to bear ‘the good news’ to others, and the Holy Spirit will be there to help us. God waits for our response. If we say ‘Yes!’ the work of God in our world will be brought forward. Like her we should dare to say, ‘Here I am, the servant of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.’ It is all so simple and yet so awesome.
St. Luke introduced this young woman to us simply: “and the virgin’s name was Mary.” The angel’s title reflected the truth that she is filled with grace, with God’s life in her soul. He made the invitation on God’s behalf, and she pondered it. Yet, her soul so united to God that thinking about something to herself, that she was also a sharing of it with the Lord? As she pondered what this might mean, was she not also asking God to help her know how to respond to him? So bound was her heart to his that she did nothing alone; everything was shared with him. How different would our lives be if we strove to live in the same way?
Closing Prayer: Loving and generous God, today we ask for the courage and the strength to say “Let it be done to me according to your word”? With God’s grace, let us make that enlightening response when God asks anything of us!
Action of the Day: Lord, today by your grace I will strive to imitate Mary by responding with obedience and acceptance to your inspirations throughout the day, and commit ourselves to pray the Rosary each day this week in honor of Mary’s ‘Yes’.