Monday, March 24, 2014
Solemnity, ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD
March 25, 2014
Tuesday 3rd Week of Lent
[Solemnity, ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD]
Is 7: 10-14; 8: 10 / Ps 40: 7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 11/ Heb 10: 4-10 / Lk 1: 26-38
First Reading: Is 7: 10-14; 8: 10
Once again Yahweh addressed Ahaz, "Ask for a sign from Yahweh your God, let it come either from the deepest depths or from the heights of heaven." But Ahaz answered, "I will not ask, I will not put Yahweh to the test." Then Isaiah said, "Now listen, descendants of David. Have you not been satisfied trying the patience of people, that you also try the patience of my God? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The Virgin is with child and bears a son and calls his name Immanuel. Devise a plan and it will be thwarted, make a resolve and it will not stand, for God-is-with-us.
Second Reading: Heb 10: 4-10
And never will the blood of bulls and goats take away these sins. This is why on entering the world, Christ says: You did not desire sacrifice and offering; you were not pleased with burnt offerings and sin offerings. Then I said: "Here I am. It was written of me in the scroll. I will do your will, O God." First he says: Sacrifice, offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire nor were you pleased with them - although they were required by the Law. Then he says: Here I am to do your will. This is enough to nullify the first will and establish the new. Now, by this will of God, we are sanctified once and for all by the sacrifice of the body of Christ Jesus.
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 young 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 if 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 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.
Rather crucial in understanding that event is the person of Mary who may well have been a young lady, possibly not over twenty years old. Like most women getting married at an early age during her time, she had been engaged to Joseph (who himself must have been a young man, and not quite like the old images we have of him as an elderly man). And we need to understand her from a human frame of mind - something that the bible leaves to us to imagine and spell out for ourselves.
How did she feel when the angel told her that she was going to become the mother of the child of the Most High? There must have been questions that any ordinary woman like her would ask. Who me? Why me? I'm just an ordinary girl from Nazareth. Who am I that the Lord should consider me at all? And what will happen to my boyfriend Joseph? What a great embarrassment to my folks and to his folks if we would have to break our engagement! And what will happen to me, when I become pregnant, without a husband? They will not only wonder why, they will probably stone me to death for such a scandal! No wonder Mary was disturbed, and that was why the angel assuaged her of the inner turmoil she was undergoing.
But through this unusual unsettling development in her life at that moment, she must have realized the sheer significance of God's plan for His people: this was now the coming to fulfillment of God's promise of salvation, as promised long before her time. For this great awesome occurrence about to take place, and with her at the center of it, she must have felt overwhelmed, with a sense of being so privileged, that she must have felt humbled. Her response to the angel's proposition? "Who am I to refuse? I am only a servant, at the service of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say." That was quite a great leap of faith, as she probably did not know how exactly the mystery of the Holy Spirit overshadowing her would happen, and what the consequences would be from thereon. All she knew perhaps was God now entering into history, in actual human time, and she was humbly ready to participate in it. In effect, she simply opened her heart and her body to God's plan, and entrusted herself completely to the Lord. And so, the birth of Christ nine months later happened.
But this event was not just all about Mary. Even more importantly, it was really about God who deemed it now time to pierce through human history. It is said that suddenly the infinite God seemed to have become finite, as though stopping and obligingly waiting for Mary'sfiat - those special moments of waiting for her final assent to His divine plan. If Mary was a humble human acceding to the divine request, all the more God humbled Himself to become human. And the rest is history, divine and human history merging together in the birth of the Emmanuel, the God who is with us, one of us.
We could be like Mary in entrusting ourselves humbly to God's plan, to His will in our own lives. There are times when this could be very challenging. If that is so, pray to Mary! Ask her to show you how to trust and entrust. And that is how the Lord Jesus might be born Emmanuel and become present in your lives over and over again.
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary
... for families who are in need of healing
* Louie Relatado
... for world peace and reconciliation
... for personal intentions
* Alyce Gail Arejola and co-examinees (for clarity of mind, enlightenment and wisdom in the preparations for and taking of subspecialty exams on March 27-28)
... for the repose of the soul - Basilisa P. de Castro
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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