A reading from the gospel according to Luke 1:26-38
26 The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
29 But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31 Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.
32 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,
33 and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
34 But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”
35 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.
36 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;
37 for nothing will be impossible for God.”
38 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.
Pointers for Reflection:
1. God spoke to Mary through an angel. She was afraid but the angel told her not to. She was able to overcome her fear and accepted the offer to be the Mother of God’s only son. From that moment of acceptance, the history of the world was changed forever. Truly, that little act of one teenage girl had a great impact on all the people of the world.
2. God speaks to us in many mysterious ways. Like Mary, may we be able to understand and accept His plan for us. Like Mary, may we allow ourselves to be an instrument of God’s plan whatever it is. Saying yes to God is our greatest decision and our own simple contribution to the realization of His kingdom. Think about this, if all the people on earth say yes to God, the enemy would be totally eliminated right away.
3. Sometimes we are also afraid and confused but let us give our full trust in God. The Holy Spirit will guide and strengthen us. His power will overshadow us. Jesus Himself promised that He will be with us till the end of time (Matthew 28:20).
4. Nothing is impossible for God. Like Mary, we often ask how things could possibly be done. Our problems are great and numerous. How can we solve them? Our desires are big. How can we achieve them? Ah, if only we have faith, God can do wondrous things in our life.
5. At all times, let us submit ourselves to God’s will. In the Lord’s prayer, we recite to let the will of God be done on earth as it is being done in heaven. Yet, we often do things according to our own ways, forgetting even to consult God. Like Mary, may we let all things be done according to the Word of God. Let us always seek His will through prayers and by reading the scripture as well as consulting His messengers such as elders in our community. We are assured that when we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, all the things that we need will be given unto us (Matthew 6:33).
Mary was a simple woman from the far-flung town of Nazareth. Yet God chose her to be the mother of His only Son, the savior of the world. When the angel greeted her, she was “greatly troubled” but the angel assured her to be calm and not be afraid because she has found favor with God.
Indeed God is not only the creator but also the initiator of all things. It is His plan that we will be saved through His Son and He asked the cooperation of Mary to make His plan a reality. Mary in turn humbly accepted the offer of God and as the cliché says the rest is history.
The story of the annunciation is a story of trust. Mary and Joseph did not understand everything and they did not mind being misunderstood or even ridiculed by the people around them. They staked their honor, in truth, their whole lives to God. They put their full trust in His divine wisdom and power. Mary specifically submitted herself to be the handmaid or slave of the Lord.
The message of this particular reading is most appropriate in our world today. Although the Covid 19 pandemic in now behind us, we are hounded by the threats of a world war. There is every reason to be “greatly troubled” but it is in this situation that the words of Angel Gabriel “Do not be afraid” should be heeded. Like Mary and Joseph, let us put our full trust in the divine power. After all, Jesus was born more than two thousand years ago and terrible wars and pandemics came and went. God is in control. God is more than enough. The gospel reading above assures us that His kingdom will have no end. Like Mary and Joseph, let us submit to the will of the Lord and we shall overcome.