READINGS for 2008-03-31
Solemnity of the Annunciation of our Lord
bELiEVE, AND THEN WATCH
“Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!” – Isaiah 7:11
Years before I started taking my spiritual journey seriously, I said, “I don’t believe in the promises in the Bible — that God will give you this and that, if you believe.” I thought that if I did well in what I was supposed to do and I don’t violate the Ten Commandments, God would grant me whatever I asked from Him. In other words, I get what I work for.
What I didn’t know was that God does more than that. He wants to give me more than what I ask for — simply because He loves me. Not because I deserve it.
When I said, “Lord, I want to use my talents to serve You,” He opened opportunities for me to write.
When I said, “Lord, I know You have plans for my life. I open myself to Your plans,” He allowed me to explore my other latent gifts, and my life changed direction.
When I said, “Lord, I need patience, I need compassion, etc.,” He sent me people to model those virtues to me.
Faith changes people. Faith brings forth other virtues. Just ask, and believe, then watch things happen. Tess Atienza
What has faith brought into my life?
Lord, I believethat You love me more than what my mind can conceive. Help me trust in that love.
Throughout Israel’s history God spoke through prophets, patriarchs, judges and seers. More often than not, however, the people refused to listen and turned away fromthe Lord by worshiping false idols or entering into military alliances with pagan kings. Isaiah literally speaks of a future victory (nine months away) but prophesies also the beginning of the ultimate victory through the birth of the Messiah.
10 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 Immanuel. 8: 10 Form a plan, and it shall be thwarted; make a resolve, and it shall not be carried out, for “With us is God!”
P S A L M
Psalm 40:7-8a, 8b-9, 10
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)
The only sacrifice God is really interested in is that of our lives given in obedience to His will. This may sound somewhat selfish on His part but when we consider the offer closely we will see that it is well worth taking up. God has been faithful to us from the beginning. He has not given up on us at any time in the past and nor will He in the future. What is you response to that sort of love and commitment?
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’s act of submission to the Lord’s will ought to be engraved on our hearts forever. It is this act that begins the human life of Jesus and ultimately leads to our salvation. Every person whoever lived, is living and will ever live ought to be grateful to Mary for her obedience. We ought to exalt her above all other human beings because she truly is a blessed one of God.
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:The only sacrifice God is really interested in is that of our lives given in obedience to His will.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Exodus 25-27
REVIEW OF THE QUARTER
Did I fulfill my last Quarter Goals?
What were the most important words the Lord gave to me this quarter?
What were my greatest blessings these past three months?
What are my most pressing needs for the next quarter?
What happened in Nazareth was a beautiful moment: God humbles Himself and becomes one of us in the womb of the Virgin Mary. It is a turning point in history, the beginning of salvation. The instrument of this great moment is a young girl who was engaged and about to marry Joseph to start a family when it happened. Mary did not understand what God wanted from her; she was confused.
But she said Yes without being aware that her Yes would bring her not only joy but problem after problem and even profound suffering. Years, no, decades of uncertainty and suffering would follow her Yes. No wonder that Mary was called the “perfect disciple.” She lived out what all of us who follow Christ have to experience: the uncertainty of our faith-journey. We have said Yes through our parents and godparents when we were baptized and have repeated our Yes whenever we have renewed our baptismal promises – the last time a week ago during the Easter Mass. Like Mary we have encountered and will continue to encounter doubts, questions, and uncertainties. Like Mary we encounter moments when we cry out “Why, Lord?” Like Mary we will not always be understood, even by some of our friends and relatives when we hope against all hope and trust God in seemingly impossible situations.
For Mary, the moment of her Son’s death must have been a shattering experience but John tells us that she STOOD beneath the Cross. And the Golgotha experience was not the end. A week ago we celebrated Easter and we in the Philippines add to the liturgical celebration the tradition of Salubong, that moment when all questions were answered for Mary and when she reaped the fruits of the Yes she said decades ago.
May Mary’s Yes encourage us and help us to go through the darkest moments with the unshakable trust that “for God nothing is impossible” and so reach with Mary one day the joyful moment when all our questions will find an answer. Fr. Rudy Horst
Am I able, like Mary, to say a joyful YES to God’s plans even though I don’t understand what it entails?
Lord, thank you so much for giving us your beloved Mother as our Mother, too. Remind me in moments of doubt and darkness how your Mother went through everything and as rewarded for her trust and faith.
St. Guy of Pomposa, abbot, pray for us.
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