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.
As a young woman, Mary is quite taken aback by the Angel Gabriel‘s words: ”Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Luke says that Mary was greatly troubled. Gabriel counters with the words ”Do not be afraid, Mary,” to assure that her call comes with the assurance of God‘s presence. Was Mary afraid? The answer is yes like anyone who hears a different call and a new disruptive plan in one‘s life. Her initial fear gave way to trust in God‘s initiative of being a partner of a new humanity. Mary models to us a faith that is rooted in trust and confidence in a new covenant with God. The question is whether like her, we move with faith or are paralyzed by fear. Many often live in fear of death, fear of a spouse leaving, fear of sickness, fear of rejection and even imagined fears. When fear lives in us, as opposed to being a momentary reaction to something new, we are paralyzed by it and end up doing nothing. We respond to situations out of fear rather than out of faith and make pretty poor disciples. We are controlled by our fears and fail to see God‘s presence and action in our lives. We see that Mary accepted the angel‘s ”Fear not” with trust and carried by her faith to say ”I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.” Mary affirms the bedrock truth that under girds discipleship: ”Let you will be done.” After we have explored all the possibilities, we still must decide: Do I follow the call of God or do I follow my own desires and plans?
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