A Daily Gospel Reflection by Dn. Chuck McDaniels for August 22nd, 2023

The Gospel according to Luke (1:26-38) 

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.

Reflection: A week ago was the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Today, the octave day since that Feast, we celebrate Mary’s position as Queen in heaven.  So, I’m deviating from the usual Ordinary Time reading to share about the Gospel specific to today’s memorial, where we hear Luke’s account of the visit to Mary of the angel Gabriel.  

I’ve shared that I’m a convert to the Catholic faith.  In my prior life, as a “Free Methodist”, Mary only came into our lives around Christmas (though not so much the story from today’s Gospel as of the birth of Jesus, which came a little later).  I knew she must be special for God to choose her to be the mother of His Divine Son, but I don’t think I ever spent a lot of time pondering her role.  That could have been because of all the bad things I was told about Catholics at that time.  

When Linda and I were dating, I attended Mass with her at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Claremont.  I think I’ve mentioned how that changed my outlook on Catholics, and it clearly changed the way I viewed my faith as a follower of Jesus.  When I began RCIA classes to become Catholic, oddly enough, one of the doctrines that I struggled least with was that of Mary’s role in the Catholic Church.  I think I knew from my youth that there was more to her than just happening to be there when Jesus was born.  Looking back now, I would say that the Holy Spirit was clearly preparing me for the path I was taking.  

I love the fact that Mary is my mother and the mother of all of the faithful.  She is there, sharing that motherly love and care, praying for me and for all of God’s children.  It only makes sense that she is honored as Queen in heaven, for without her “yes” as we hear it in today’s Gospel, salvation would not have been possible for us.  May we always ask her for her intercession, not because we can’t intercede for ourselves, but because, like the loving mother she is, she can echo our prayer with that love, and present it before the throne of God.  

Action for the Day: I have come to truly love the “Hail Mary” prayer.  Today, take time to pray it slowly and thoughtfully, and ask our Blessed Mom to pray for whatever intention you may have on your heart.  

If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below! 

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