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.
In today’s Gospel, just five days before Christmas, we have the recounting by Luke of the Annunciation. Linda and I were very blessed to visit the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth this past March. It was one of the first holy sites we saw on our pilgrimage and thinking of it today still gives me the same sense of awe I felt that day.
I know that I can’t fully imagine what it was like for Mary, a teenaged girl from the small village of Nazareth, to not only be visited by the angel of the Lord, but to be told that she would be the mother of the eternal Son of God. None of us can imagine that fully. But, the most important thing is that she said “Yes”. Her “yes” or “fiat” in Latin, is the model of all of us who are followers of Jesus.
No doubt that she did not fully realize or comprehend what that “yes” would mean. Her life was certainly much more complicated and difficult from that point on at the start, at least, where her betrothed would be told that his intended was pregnant, and he wasn’t the father. She lived in a small village where everyone knew everyone else’s business. Yet, here’s the thing – Luke does not recount her asking for details, other than the most basic, and he does not record her questioning why she was the one receiving this most amazing request.
Instead, we have her words that truly should be written on the hearts of all of us who believe. “May it be done, according to your word.” As we near the celebration of Jesus’ birth, may we take those words to heart, and try to live them out every day. It’s not promised to be easy (much as Mary’s journey was not so), but Jesus promises that it will be a journey that is absolutely worth whatever we face on the way.
May you be truly blessed these last days of Advent, and I wish you all a blessed and Holy Christmas this weekend!
Action for the Day:
Ponder today those words of Mary: “May it be done to me, according to your word.” What do those words mean in your life? How can you live them out? How can you be a sign of peace in your home, your workplace, your community today?
If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below!