God has always sought to bring salvation to His people in many and varied ways. Here we have the promise of deliverance from a besieging army within the next nine months. As such, the Fathers of the Church, as well as Matthew the Gospel author, have seen in this prophecy something foreshadowing the role of Mary in the work of salvation. Whether it is the literal or prophetic meaning of the text that we reflect upon, let us pray that we will have the faith of Mary to say, “Yes” to whatever God asks us to do for him.
10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz: 11 “Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!” 12 But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!” 13 Then he said: “Listen, O house of David! Is it not enough for you to weary men, must you also weary my God? 14 Therefore the LORD himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.”
P S A L M
Psalm 40:7-8, 8-9, 10, 11
R: Here am I Lord; I come to do your will.
6  Sacrifice or offering you wished not, but ears open to obedience you gave me. Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not; 7  then said I, “Behold I come. (R) In the written scroll it is prescribed for me. 8  To do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!” (R) 9  I announced your justice in the vast assembly; I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know. (R) 10  Your justice I kept not hid within my heart; your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of; I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth in the vast assembly. (R)
Obedience is far better than holocaust or sacrifice because true obedience comes from the heart and indicates that the work of salvation is in progress. It must have been difficult for the Jews to fully understand this given their focus on blood sacrifices in the Temple. In just the same way it can be difficult for us to accept that God offers us salvation as a free gift given our focus on earning respect and what we have. Let us pray for the grace to vercome our pride and arrogance of thinking that we could be able to save ourselves through our own actions.
4 It is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats take away sins. 5 For this reason, when he came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; 6 holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight in. 7 Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll, behold, I come to do your will, O God.’” 8 First he says, “Sacrifices and offerings, holocausts and sin offerings, you neither desired nor delighted in.” These are offered according to the law. 9 Then he says, “Behold, I come to do your will.” He takes away the first to establish the second. 10 By this “will,” we have been consecrated through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
G O S P E L
Mary is probably the best scriptural example of complete obedience. Other figures, David, Abraham, Moses etc, all have their moments of disobedience. Mary, however, is a picture of perfect surrender to God in every aspect of the meaning of the Word. Let us look to her life and seek to imitate her obedience and surrender as this will put us firmly on the path to eternal life.
26 The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. 32 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, 33 and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” 35 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. 36 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; 37 for nothing will be impossible for God.” 38 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.
think: Obedience is far better than holocaust or sacrifice because true obedience comes from the heart and indicates that the work of salvation is in progress.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
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READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR 1 Kings 7-8
GETTING TO KNOW THE SAINTS
Saint Matilda, born during the late ninth century, was the daughter of a German count. She was betrothed to a nobleman named Henry. When Henry became king, Matilda lived a simple lifestyle. The new queen devoted her time in daily prayer. She comforted and cared for the sick, helped prisoners, and reached out to those in need.
King Henry loved his wife very much. He allowed her to use the treasures of the kingdom for her charities. After twentythree years of marriage, the King died in 936. Saint Matilda grieved for her loss. Thus, she decided to live the rest of her life for God and in practice of charity and penance. To express her sincerity, the Queen gave the jewels she was wearing to the priest who celebrated mass for the soul of King Henry.
One mistake the Queen committed was when she favored her son Henry more than her son Otto in their struggle to succeed the throne. She was repentant. In consequence, Matilda whole-heartedly accepted the sufferings that came her way.
Saint Matilda died in 968. Her body was buried beside her husband.
Saint Julian of Antioch
Julian of Antioch, or Julian of Anazarbus, was born during the early 4th century in Anazarbus, Cilicia. Julian served as a senatorial rank under Diocletian. He was one of the Christians who suffered under his persecution. According to reports, the saint was subjected to brutal punishments. For the entire year, he was paraded daily. And to end the torture, Julian was sewn up in a sack half-filled with scorpions and vipers, and was thrown into the sea to drown. Antioch claimed that the remains of the saint were recovered and enshrined in the city s basilica.