Sunday, December 24
The Fourth Sunday of Advent
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.
We heard this Gospel from Luke proclaimed four times this year with the first being on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation; on December 8 for the Immaculate Conception; December 12, for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe; and today, on the Fourth Sunday of Advent. This Gospel is titled the Annunciation of the Lord as it commemorates how God made known to a young Jewish woman that she was to be the mother of His Son, and how Mary accepted her vocation with perfect conformity of will. It has been said, “God made us without us, and redeemed us without us, but cannot save us without us.” Mary’s “Yes” to the angel Gabriel’s message opened the way for God to accomplish the salvation of the world. It is for this reason that all generations are to call her “blessed.”
Just as the Virgin Mary was a willing participant for God to accomplish the salvation of the world, we also must be willing to allow God to save us from ourselves. We also have been called to say ‘Yes’, an unconditional ‘Yes’ to following Jesus.
As we gather at the table of the Lord this weekend, we are reminded of the cost of Jesus’ own obedience. As you take the bread, as you hold it – the symbol of Jesus’ body sacrificed for you – ask yourself about what God is calling you to do. Maybe it is to let go of something or perhaps to take on something. Maybe it is to change an attitude or ask for forgiveness or to provide someone forgiveness.
Dear Lord, make us more like Mary, willing to believe and open up our hearts to you and say ‘Yes’ to your message of salvation. “May it be done to ‘us’ according to your word.”
May you, your families, and loved ones have a very Happy and Blessed Christmas! Remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season.