Gospel – December 9, 2019 – 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.
Today, for we Catholics, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Now, that doesn’t mean her conceiving Jesus which a lot of people thinks that means. No, it is her conception and that she was conceived without the stain of original sin. That’s the last of the catechizing today.
I like to think of myself as subservient to God’s will and I think by and large I am. But if you think about it – what must it have been like for such a young girl, engaged to an older man, living in the times she lived to hear from an angel that she was going to be made pregnant without ever being with her future husband?
I cannot fathom how she must have heard that message with all the implications and still said yes. But, she was prepared from her birth when Anne and Joachim accepted that great responsibility of raising her to become the mother of God Incarnate.
When God asks something of you, however he may communicate with you, do you just say yes? Or do you sometimes have to be told multiple times? I know when he led me into the diaconate service I wasn’t jumping for joy. He had to invite me several ways. Ultimately, he called me through a friend – Dan Clark – to attend a Journey to Damascus Weekend. It was there he finally broke me down – no pride, no stiff neck, no belief any longer that I could do this.
How does God speak to you? Song, strangers words, random acts or dreams? However he communicates – do you listen?
Do you hear him with the innocence of teenage girl and the trust to do what he asks no matter the risks?
Do you recognize him at all?
At least that’s what I heard Him say…