Friday of the Third Week of Advent

Gospel   Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month,
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.

She said, “Yes,” and everything in the world changed. Don’t let the passage of time, the beauty of artistic portrayals or other things convince you that her answer was anything short of terrifying. Mary was young, unwed, and pregnant. What would Joseph say? Her parents? Others in her community. It would look awful. What a scandal! Still, she said, “Yes.”
You and I have received a promise that God will always love us and forgive us. We have received a promise that death has been destroyed and we will live forever. The best offer ever made has come to us because Mary said, “Yes.”
How many times in the course of a day do we take the quick and easy route by saying no. The reasons (excuses?) may be legitimate. We don’t have the time. We don’t have the knowledge. We don’t have the experience. Maybe we are simply uninterested. Maybe it seems too daunting or too hard. So we give into the temptation for the easy, “No.” If we look to Our Lady as an example, we just might be able to push ourselves to say, “Yes,” and in doing so, in ways large and small, change the lives of those around us as well.
The Fiat (Yes) Prayer
Holy Mary,
Obtain for me the help that I need,
to do my very best
using all the powers within me
and all the talents and skills I posses,
according to my possibilities,
to fulfill God´s plan
in every circumstance of my life.
Rev. Matthew R. Bailey, FCM, Vicar General
Pastor, St. Joseph of Arimathea American National Catholic Church

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