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Gospel Reflections

Gospel Reflection Feb 25 – Deacon Chris + Operation Rice Bowl Week 2

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Sunday, February 25

Second Sunday of Lent

Mark 9: 2 – 10

Gospel:
Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
from the cloud came a voice,
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.

Reflection:
Even though it is only the second Sunday of Lent, the Church is already talking to us about the Resurrection. Here we are at the beginning of this penitential season, and we are given the story of Christ’s Transfiguration. Jesus shows Peter, James, and John a glimpse of His eternal glory, the glory that He will fully claim after the Resurrection. So, why is the Church giving us this gospel when Easter is more than a month away?

The reason is that the Cross is always linked to the Resurrection and the Resurrection is always linked with the Cross. As Catholics, the Cross and the Resurrection are two sides of the same coin. The season of Lent is a time for sacrifice and a time to acknowledge suffering in the world and in each of our lives. Everyone experiences suffering. But if we suffer with Jesus and allow Him to help us through it, it will not be the end of the story. The crosses that we encounter in our lives can purify us of selfishness and can lead us closer to Christ where we can experience the Joy of His Resurrection.

So, we make sacrifices during Lent in order that our lives may be transfigured. We strip away excesses so that we can refocus on what is most important, our relationship with Christ and eternal life. The essence of the Paschal Mystery is that Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection was our redemption. Therefore, we always remember the connection between the Cross and the Resurrection. Because His suffering and death would be meaningless without the Resurrection and there can be no Easter Sunday without Good Friday.

Deacon Chris Tuttle

Gospel Reflection Feb 18 – Fr. Morris + Operation Rice Bowl Week 1

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Sunday, February 18

First Sunday of Lent

Mark 1: 12-15

Gospel:
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
and he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
and the angels ministered to him.

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Reflection:
The familiar ritual of Ash Wednesday involves both a symbol and a word. As the sacramental of the blessed ashes is traced upon the forehead, the Church instructs the minister to say one of two possible formulas: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return” or “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”

The first formula is taken from the words that God pronounced to the disobedient Adam and Eve before they were cast out of Paradise: “By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread, until you return to the ground, from which you were taken; For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

The second formula is taken from today’s Gospel, as Jesus begins to proclaim the Good News. The time of fulfillment has come; the descendants of Adam and Eve will soon be freed from their mortal curse by repenting and believing in the Christ.

Lent begins with the words of the Fall and the Redemption, reminding us simultaneously of Death and Resurrection. It is a paradox that is only understood, only fully resolved, when at the Easter Vigil the deacon chants that most curious of Christian statements: “O truly necessary sin of Adam, destroyed completely by the Death of Christ! O happy fault that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!”

Father Matthew Morris

 

 

OPERATION RICE BOWL STORIES OF HOPE: WEEK 1

Life and Dignity of the Human Person
Catholic social teaching inspires and guides how we are to live and work in the world. In this principle, Life and Dignity of the Human Person, Jesus reminds us that we are all made in God’s image and likeness. That means that every human being has a special value and a purpose. We need to care for each other so we can be the people God calls us to be.

Encounter Majd
Eight-year-old Majd thought his family was going on a picnic. His mother, Lamya, said they would be back home in a week. But when ISIS attacked their home in northern Iraq, the family fled for good.

“What worried me the most were the kids,” Lamya says. “Our life was stable and we were doing well; we had a very big house. Our children had everything they needed. But when we fled, I was not able to bring anything for them-not even food.”

Fortunately, the family found an apartment to rent with other displaced families. It is much smaller than the home they had, but it’s safer. The children enrolled in a CRS-sponsored school, where the routine provides hope, stability and a sense of belonging. “Education is very important,” says Lamya, especially in Iraqi culture.

Lamya received training from CRS and became a teacher at the school. Now she has hope for the future. “I really love children, so when I go to class I feel like I am with my family,” she says.

Her son, Majd, also loves going to school. “Majd is so motivated to go to school. He just wants it to be morning so he can go,” Lamya says. “He is relaxed, having fun and more confident.” For Majd, school means a normal life-now and in the future.

Gospel Reflection Feb 11 – Deacon Paul

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Sunday, February 11

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 1: 40 – 45

Gospel:
A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched him, and said to him,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.

He said to him, “See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”

The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

Reflection:
“I do will it. Be made clean.” These are the beautiful and most comforting words spoken by Jesus in today’s Gospel to the leper who approached Him, knelt down begging Jesus, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus could have shown no greater expression of love and mercy than to reach out His hand to touch this unclean leper. By doing this, Jesus showed His great love and compassion for the needy leper. You see, no man would have dared touch this leper, knowing he might contract this dreadful disease. Only the compassionate Jesus would perform such an act of mercy upon a helpless beggar
.
Ever since Biblical times, people have been fearful of leprosy. Under Jewish law, no one could approach within six feet of the leper and when approaching, the leper was required to cry out “unclean, unclean.” Jesus not only heals the disease but He also cleanses the leper. By cleansing the leper, Jesus is providing a spiritual healing, as well as a physical healing.

Where leprosy is noticeable as an exterior disease of sores on the body, how many of us in turn fully recognize our own inner sores – our sins? For we may be unclean. Maybe we are defiled through having impure thoughts, anger, bitterness, lust, greed, pride, and hurtful actions towards others.

So, what can we take away from today’s Gospel from Mark? If we go to Jesus on our knees and beg for healing, we will assuredly receive it. We believe that Jesus has the greatest healing power of all – healing us from our sins – but He does not always heal our physical ailments. However, we must have faith and trust in Him to do what is right and good for us and to stand with us in our suffering.

As we quickly approach the season of Lent, with Ash Wednesday on February 14, let us be aware of our inner sores, let us be “touched” by Jesus and receive His forgiveness and healing by participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Let us kneel down and say to Jesus, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” I assure you that He will reply back to you with the same compassion He showed the leper and say, “I will do it, be made clean.”

Deacon Paul Zemanek

Gospel Reflection Feb 4 – Deacon Don

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Sunday, February 4

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 1: 29 – 39

Gospel:
On leaving the synagogue
Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.
They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.
Then the fever left her and she waited on them.

When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Rising very early before dawn, he left
and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues,
preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.

Reflection:
The entire Gospel of Mark is short and can be read in just one sitting. While short in length, it is not thin in its message. Mark’s Gospel presents Jesus as a man of tireless action in so many of its passages. Jesus is presented with a need and he responds to it – never judging the recipient’s worthiness – just responding to the need. Jesus does not force his healing on anyone. Jesus does expect us to take our healing and pay it forward.

My wife Julie and I visited Capernaum in 1999. We visited the synagogue and walked to what is believed to be the home of Peter’s mother-in-law. While it may seem astounding to think that we can identify the actual locations today made famous in this Gospel passage, there is credible evidence that we can. Whether fact or not, it was awe inspiring to simply be there and imagine this very Gospel taking place beneath our feet some 2,000 years ago. So, if the place is real, why not the actions? One action is the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law. It seems almost laughable that Jesus heals her and immediately “…she waited on them.” This may seem like Jesus was self-serving or even cruel, but that would miss the point. We are all meant to serve others. We are living in a world of significant brokenness. The brokenness we experience in our own lives prevents us from serving others. The Jesus of Mark’s Gospel heals our brokenness and with that healing, only then can we serve the Gospels in our service to others.

That message should live in us. Read this Gospel, end-to-end. It is quite a ride with Jesus’ action after action showing us that this is not simply a man doing good things, but God serving our deeply troubled need for healing with every action He takes.

Deacon Don Poirier

Gospel Reflection Jan 28 – Deacon Frank

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Sunday, January 28

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 1: 21 – 28

Gospel:
Then they came to Capernaum,
and on the sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are-the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said,
“Quiet! Come out of him!”
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another,
“What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

Reflection:
In this weekend’s gospel from St. Mark we hear Jesus begin to speak at a synagogue in Capernaum. He makes his voice heard for the first time as a preacher, teacher and healer. The people, who have heard preachers and teachers before, quickly recognize that Jesus’s voice is something new. Jesus’s voice is not one of the regulars. They are deeply impressed.

However, that morning in the synagogue there is a man who is very disturbed and who begins to shout and disrupt things. He, too, recognizes that this Jesus is a powerful man, a man who is able to deal with his troubled mind. But he is afraid and begins to shout at Jesus to ward him off. In response Jesus, by the power of his word – his voice – quiets the demon of torment and brings the grace of calmness and peace to that person.

‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?’ is the question put to Jesus by that tormented man, yet, it can be a question for all of us today. In our tormented world, so often unstable and full of fears and struggles, it is easy for us to hide away in our own little lives, safe perhaps from the drama all around us. May Jesus’s voice be just as powerful today to enliven our lives, change our unsettled ways, and to heal our hurting hearts.

Deacon Frank Iannarino

Gospel Reflection Jan 21 – Sr. Teresa

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Sunday, January 21

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 1: 14 – 20

Gospel:
After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.

Reflection:
Wait! What? Didn’t we just have this reading last week? Didn’t we hear Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew being called and Jesus inviting them to “Come and see?” We did and we didn’t.

We did hear about the call of Simon and Andrew, but it was told in the Gospel of John. This week it is being told in the Gospel of Mark. If you put them side-by-side, you would note and maybe wonder about several differences. That is exactly what I did. Actually, I spent some significant time doing that very thing. Then I began to wonder, am I doing this as a diversion? Am I doing this instead of spending some time looking deeply into the passage given today? I was avoiding looking more deeply and closer to the passage because I really don’t like that “leave everything” phrase.

We know that Peter and Andrew did not entirely abandon the fishing business, but they gradually follow Jesus, embrace his teachings and later begin their missionary work. We are not encouraged to give up our jobs or leave our families to become a follower of Jesus. We are asked to abandon anything that keeps us from following him completely. Abandon anything that shifts our focus from Jesus. Take some time today reflecting upon what draws your focus away from God; are there things or people you choose over being a disciple of Jesus? A good place to start would be to wonder why you might say, “I am too busy to go to Church.” “I don’t have time to pray.” “I’m too tired to be involved in any kind of service project.” “I go to Church (most of the time) so my relationship with Jesus is fine.” I don’t really want a relationship with Jesus.” Busy-ness combined with Spiritual Sloth are probably the two biggest causes of losing sight of what is most important in life. Go back to Msgr. Hendricks reflection from last week. He said, “What Jesus asks of them (Peter and Andrew) is no different than what he asks of us, namely to do the works he does, to speak with compassion as he does, to care for those who reach out to us for our assistance.” In the past week did you do that or were you too busy or too spiritually lazy to even think about it? This week listen to Jesus’ call and invitation to “Come after me.”

Sister Teresa Tuite, OP

Gospel Reflection Jan 14 – Msgr Hendricks

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Sunday, January 14

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

John 1:35-42

Gospel:
John was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God.”
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
“What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Rabbi” – which translated means Teacher -,
“where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”
So they went and saw where Jesus was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told him,
“We have found the Messiah” – which is translated Christ -.
Then he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said,
“You are Simon the son of John;
you will be called Cephas” – which is translated Peter.

Reflection:
As the major celebrations of the Birth of the Messiah have concluded, the Church now turns her attention to our enduring relationship with Jesus Christ.

The gospel of John sees Jesus gathering his disciples and asking them to remain with him and issues an invitation to “come and see,” not only where he is staying but how he lives and how much he wants them to be close to him.  As John the Baptist calls him “the Lamb of God,” we know immediately that all of the promises of Old have been fulfilled in him and that a new era has dawned for the world.

What Jesus asks of them is no different than what he asks of us, namely to do the works he does, to speak with compassion as he does, to care for those who reach out to us for our assistance.

From now until Easter we are given a lesson each day to find ourselves drawn more closely to him, in thought, word, and deed.

Knowing that we too have found the Messiah, the  Christ, will make all the difference as we journey with him.

Monsignor Hendricks

Gospel Reflection Jan 7 – Deacon Paul

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Sunday, January 8

The Epiphany of the Lord

Matthew 2: 1 – 12

Gospel:
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.

Reflection:
Today’s story about the three Magi, following “the star” of the King of the Jews is a very familiar one for all of us. No other Gospel account other than Matthew has this narrative of the Magi visiting Jesus. His narrative underscores that Jesus is the promised Messiah and that this truth was a real threat to the reigning king.

The Epiphany marks the first appearance of Jesus to the Gentiles. It signals that God loves Gentiles as well as Jews and that God’s plan for salvation includes Gentiles too.
Herod, in our story represents the response of the unbeliever to the news of the coming of the Messiah. He is more concerned that the presence of Jesus will interfere with his power, with his position, and with his lifestyle. Our world today is filled with individuals much like Herod who want to know, but are not actually looking for the One who will save people from their sins.

Then there are the Wise Men, the focus of today’s story. They came to Jerusalem by following the light – the Star of Bethlehem that had been above their heads and guiding them to the Messiah. The Magi were some of the first people to worship Jesus as Lord. They prostrated themselves in homage and acceptance of the Messiah.

We can probably see ourselves in each of these individuals in this story. There are times when we perhaps keep ourselves wrapped up in the pleasures and power of sin, not just blinded by darkness but actively seeking it out in order to deny the truth of the Lord and the wages of sin. We in essence become like Herod in denying the wise things of our faith and we plot to maintain our material comforts, rather than open ourselves up to the Lord. But there are those times of grace when we are able to break through from the weight of the world and all of its distractions to see salvation through Jesus, and our redemption from sin. We truly can see the light, rather than hide from it. When we open up our hearts to the Lord, He can put us on the path that leads us not to destruction, but to salvation, away from becoming the Herods of this world and into faith in life everlasting.

Deacon Paul Zemanek

Gospel Reflection Dec 31 – Fr. Morris

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Sunday, December 31

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Luke 2:22-40

Gospel:

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
They took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
He took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
—and you yourself a sword will pierce—
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There was also a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

Reflection:

What a bewildering experience this first trip to the Temple was for the Blessed Virgin and St Joseph! First a holy man runs up and exalts over their son. He is so overjoyed to see their newborn son that he exclaims that he is so content, he is ready to die now!

A prophet snatching your newborn up in a prayer of thanksgiving would be enough excitement for one day for any parent. But hard on the heels of the prophet comes a prophetess. This octogenarian anchoress who, we are told, “never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer,” begins to prophesize as well about the child!

But then, this Gospel reading concludes in a fitting way for the Feast of the Holy Family. After all this hubbub, all this extraordinary attention by holy people, Joseph and Mary are finally left alone. And left alone, they do exactly what they came to do: fulfill the Law and consecrate their son to God. Then, left untroubled by any more prophets or prophetesses, they return home to Nazareth.

In Nazareth, they are just Joseph and Mary. In the house at Nazareth, they are back to chores and diapers, carpentry and homemaking. And it was precisely in this environment that the Gospel tells us that Jesus “grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was upon him.”

The Son of God did not “grow up” as some prodigy in the inner Temple sanctum, carefully trained in Judaism by Levitical priests and educated by the best private tutors. No, it was precisely amid that most extraordinary of ordinary things– a happy, loving family — that Jesus grew in his humanity.

This Feast day reminds us that “the family” is important; so important, that even the Lord chose to live in a family! Our own families, nuclear and extended, may be a long, long way from being described as “holy.” Even words like “happy” or “loving” might feel like an exercise in wishful thinking. But let us never underestimate or understate the importance of “the family” for the world. At the expense of being simplistic, if the family is good enough for Jesus, imagine how good and necessary it is for us!

Father Morris

Gospel Reflection Dec 24 – Deacon Paul

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Sunday, December 24

The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Luke 1: 26-38

Gospel:

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.

Reflection:

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.

Deacon Paul