Friday, March 20, 2015

Gospel text for The Annunciation of Mary 22 March 2015

Luke 1:26-38        In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" The angel said to her, "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 holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.
Reflection      I wonder what would happen if God came to our front door? How would we feel? What would we do? Would we fall face to the ground as did the old prophet Ezekiel? More than once! (Ezel 1.28, 3.23, 43.4, 44.4) Might we be more like Daniel who describes his encounter with God this way,  “The men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them so they fled. No strength remained in me; for my vigor turned to frailty in me and I retained no strength. … While (God) was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling?” (Dan 10. 7-11) Perhaps we would be more like  Elizabeth’s husband the priest Zachariah, terrified, overwhelmed with fear and left speechless for ten months following his encounter with the angel of God. (Luke 1.13,22)
Or, might we be more like Mary? I wonder if we would accept God’s favor in coming to us and in so doing consent to our inherent goodness? “Greetings favored one, the Lord is with you.” I wonder if we would stay conscious as Mary and engage the Angel of God with questions? “How can this be?” I wonder if we would believe the counsel that “Nothing will be impossible for God?” I wonder if we would look at our lives, the problems we are facing, addictions, depression, our estranged child, our rocky relationship and remember, “Nothing will be impossible for God.” Can we see the relevance of this passage for our every day living? Can we accept its gift when we believe we are in an impossible situation?
Cancer, infertility, death of a loved one? An unplanned pregnancy, student loans, old hurts too deep to leave behind? The cost of child care? The cost of elder care? The millions of people throughout the world who are being displaced and persecuted? The thing is, when we focus on what is impossible for us rather than on what is possible with God, we throw up our hands and bury our heads in the sand. 

But, when we listen with Mary and choose to believe the words, “Nothing will be impossible with God,” we can boldly say, ”Here I am, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word.”
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