READINGS for 2008-12-20
WhOm GOD usEs
“Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” – Luke 1:28
Once, my friend appointed me to be the assistant director of a mini play she was directing. During one rehearsal, she came late. Because she didn’t brief me on what to do, I was at a loss on how to run the rehearsals. Because the practice was going nowhere, the lead actress got angry. By the time my friend came, she confronted her. “You should assign somebody to pitch in for you in your absence. Who’s your assistant?” the actress demanded. When my friend pointed to me as her assistant director, the lead actress didn’t say a word. But the message was written all over her face: “Why her? She’s not competent.” Mary was chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus. According to a Bible commentary, “Mary was young, poor and female — characteristics that… make her seem unusable by God for any major task. But God chose Mary for one of the most important acts of obedience He has ever demanded of any one.”
God’s standards are not the same as the world’s. When He calls us for a mission, He equips us with what we need to accomplish His purposes. Like Mary, we just need to obey and trust His heart.Judith Concepcion
Do you feel unworthy to be in God’s service? Remember, when God appoints, He anoints.
Lord, I am Your handmaid. May it be done to me according to Your word.
Isaiah prophesies the birth of a child that will signal the deliverance of Jerusalem from the besieging armies of the north. This deliverance is a miraculous event as there is no earthly way in which the people of Jerusalem could engineer this victory as the armies of Syria are far greater and better equipped than their own. As Christians, we also see this text as a prophecy relating to the birth of Jesus from Mary, some 700 or so years in the future. It can serve as both since God is free to use His word in whatever way He desires.
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 Emmanuel.
P S A L M
Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6
R: Let the Lord enter; he is the King of glory.
1 The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it. 2 For he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. (R) 3 Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD? Or who may stand in his holy place? 4 He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain. (R) 5 He shall receive a blessing from the LORD, a reward from God his savior. 6 Such is the race that seeks for him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob. (R)
G O S P E L
Mary says, “Yes,” to the request of God through the angel and the whole world should rejoice in the knowledge that the final act in the work of humanity’s salvation had begun. Mary’s response has become the model for all Christian discipleship since. She who was the first Christian and follower of Christ is so graced by God that she who is free from sin is also a disciple even while the Son of God is still in her womb and yet to be born.
26 In the sixth month, 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: Mary’s response has since become the model for all Christian discipleship.
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 Obadiah and Jonah
PREPARATION FOR A “YES” TO GOD
The Mass celebrated today was called “Missa Aurea” or Golden Mass, because it commemorates in Advent the Annunciation — the actual beginning of the life of Jesus in the womb of the Virgin Mary. The Word was made flesh. God becomes one of us. God’s plan for our salvation was not imposed on humanity —He asked for human consent and participation. In Mary, He found a heart well disposed for this task. Mary was the attentive person who was ready to receive the word of God with faith. She said a generous yes to God’s plans even though she did not fully understand what this would mean. Her faith and trust in God was enormous.
I am convinced that Mary’s parents must have had a tremendous influence on the growth of her faith. Her parents must have taught her how to pray, how to trust God. They must have told her how God guided their ancestors through the most difficult situations.
I come to this conclusion because I myself have experienced the religious guidance of my parents from my earliest childhood. Without this parental religious education, I probably would not have arrived at saying yes to the call of God. What a responsibility our parents have. They not only determine what we will do in the future, they also determine our spiritual life. We cannot blame many of our young people who don’t go to Church or are not able to live a moral life or when vocations to the priesthood or religious life begin to diminish. Parents have missed the opportunity to be the first catechists of our children and to provide them with an environment in which the spiritual life and the faith of their children could grow and develop. To provide their children with a good education and with all kinds of things they need is fine. But how much better it would be if more parents would realize that more than material support of their children, spiritual education and guidance is what they need for the futur. Our children are, after all, not only the future of the nation but also the future of the Church. Fr. Rudy Horst
What have I done or what do I do to bring children closer to Christ and the Church so that they may be able live a life of faith?
Lord, Mary was well prepared by Your graces and by her parents to say her generous yes to God’s plan of salvation. Enlighten our parents today to cooperate with Your grace and lead their children to a life grounded in You.
St. Peter Thi, Viatnamese martyr, pray for us.
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