Gospel: Lk 1:26-38
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God, to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. He was sent to a virgin, who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the virgin‘s name was Mary. The angel came to her and said, ”Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean. But the angel said, ”Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a son; and you shall call him Jesus. He will be great, and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the kingdom of David, his ancestor; he will rule over the people of Jacob forever; and his reign shall have no end.” Then Mary said to the angel, ”How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel said to her, ”The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the holy child to be born of you shall be called Son of God. Even your relative, Elizabeth, is expecting a son in her old age, although she was unable to have a child; and she is now in her sixth month. With God nothing is impossible.” Then Mary said, ”I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.” And the angel left her.
Gabriel explains that Mary will become pregnant and give birth to Jesus, the Messiah. She disagrees with a valid objection: ”How will this be, since I am a virgin?” She meant that the demand of God was simply impossible given her limitations and the shame that go with the request. It was her right to question and doubt God‘s offer to be the mother of Jesus. Mary‘s question arose from fear and even disbelief. Responding to God‘s call requires being challenged to the core of one‘s being. Mary‘s courage to question is part of being true to herself. Her fears were real. Her fears turned to faith when she got the assurance of God‘s promise to make a partner of God‘ plan to share the joys and pains of humanity by being one of us. Mary‘s response to the angel‘s announcement and explanation ”I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said” is an act of trust to God‘s promise. Here is a teenager facing misunderstanding and rejection from her family, her betrothed, and her townspeople. And yet she says yes to God‘s call. Mary affirms the bedrock truth that under girds our discipleship: ”I am the Lord‘s servant.” After all is said and done, after we have explored all the possibilities, we still must decide: am I a servant or a master? Is my allegiance to the God of history or to my own desires? Sometimes it takes great turmoil in our souls to come to the place of courage and trust, but come to it we must. Even before Jesus was conceived, Mary was faced with the decision: Will I obey and make way for the mystery of Incarnation where God becomes Emmanuel, God becoming human like us or Will I take the easy way that avoids the difficulty of encountering God concretely in my life? Being a woman of faith, Mary‘s response is a challenge to everyone to follow her example.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2018