December 20, 2019 – Friday of the 3rd Week of Advent
Click here for the readings http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/122019.cfm
What does it really mean to believe?
Our Gospel today reveals something to us as we are approaching the Birth of Jesus. Today’s Gospel brings into that memory where Mary believed despite the unbelievable circumstances in her life.
The Angel Gabriel greeted Mary, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you!” Reflecting upon it, we find that the greeting is so deep. It is a statement from God that Mary is certainly favored and that God is delighted with Mary. Mary is, indeed, filled with GOD!
In her simplicity and being an ordinary woman, she accepted God’s invitation extra-ordinarily because ‘she believed’. In her simplicity, Mary felt the trouble of being honored as favored by God. I am sure that Mary with her human emotions felt confused and afraid when the angel appeared before her. The revelation of the angel was difficult to understand, thus, she pondered in her heart the meaning of those.
These troubles, confusion and fear led her to ask in all honesty, “how can it be?” It was neither a question of defiance nor of doubts but of concern on how she would go about it. The answer she got was God’s promise, that God is with her.
This promise from God inspired Mary and motivated her to give her consent, her big YES to God. Mary was called by God to be the Mother of Jesus, and Mary responded with joy and confidence. Her response is out of gratitude to God for being good to her and out of love and kindness for that was her experience with God.
Indeed, Mary’s whole life knew only love. There is no bitterness in the heart of Mary; no scars of fear or hate, only love. That is why, Mary would always choose to love which she always does. This love of Mary makes her affectionately close to us. Thus, we should neither fear nor hesitate to be close to her.
The mission of Mary now was to be part of our story of salvation. Mary has a big role here, and that is, to be the Mother of the Redeemer of the World, who will bring peace and mercy. With Mary’s open heart, pure conscience, deep faith and love in God, she accepted the call from God and prompted her to declare, “Behold, I am God’s servant. Let it be done to me according to your word!” She owned this statement and kept it in her heart despite her confusions and anxieties. However, it was Mary’s leap of faith that made her confident before the Lord.
Everything became possible with God because Mary believed. Remember, God cannot and will not work wonders with us unless we give our consent and believe.
This is the invitation today for us, TO BELIEVE, because God reveals His presence in the events of our ordinary life. That day for Mary seemed to be just an ordinary day, but the revelation from the Angel just made the day anew.
TO BELIEVE, then, is to be constantly aware of God’s many revelations in every single moment of our life.
TO BELIEVE is to trust in the Lord’s Words despite our troubles and questions, worries and anxieties. Mary pondered in her heart what had been revealed to her.
TO BELIEVE in the Lord also means to be aware of the needs of others. Mary responded to God because her participation is vital for our salvation.
TO BELIEVE is to listen to God’s invitation that through our life, God can make wonders, that through Mary’s simplicity, God brings forth creation.
TO BELIEVE also means being pregnant with God’s presence. Yes, God invites us today that our life, our words and actions, and our relationships with one another will become pregnant with His loving and compassionate presence.
With those, let us also welcome Mary and journey with her in our life because it also means to receive Jesus in our lives for she will bring us closer to Jesus. Let us express then our deep gratitude to God because of this wonderful gift given to us through the person of Mary, Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR