Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord!
April showers bring May flowers: wait, it is only March. March showers brings, um, … er… wet children walking to school?!
Today’s reflection is Mary’s acceptance to be the mother of God.
Quote or Joke of the Day:
“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.” – Amy Carmichael
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, favored one! 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. (NAB Lk 1:26-35)
The announcement to Mary of the birth of Jesus parallels that of the announcement to Zechariah, about the birth of John (the Baptist). In both, the angel Gabriel appears to a woman (one elderly and the other barely teenage) who is troubled by a vision of an angel appearing before them. They are both told by Gabriel “not to fear.” After the announcement, they object to the announcement (the first stating impossibility, and the later out of humility) and a sign is given to confirm the announcement (Zechariah was made deaf and mute, and Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit).
Mary’s questioning of her pregnancy, by denial of sexual relations, leads to Gabriel’s declaration about the Spirit’s role in the conception of Jesus. The conception of Jesus takes place through the grace of the Holy Spirit, and by the power of God. Therefore Jesus has a unique relationship to Yahweh, the “Most High” of all creation. He IS the “Son of God!”
The primary focus of the announcement of the birth of Jesus is on His identity as the “Son of David,” and the “Son of God.” Jesus is referred to as the “Son of the Most High” by Luke, the writer of this gospel reading. If you remember, he also referred to John the Baptist as the “prophet of the Most High.” “Most High” is a title used frequently by Luke for God.
Mary obviously had an important role as well in the life of Jesus, which was predestined, even before her own birth. Mary was born without original sin; a condition of the soul only shared with one other: her son, Jesus. When Mary accepted to be the mother to our Lord, she also accepted the entire human race as her children.
Sinners, lepers, tax collectors, prostitutes, and even laborers and fishermen (including the Apostles) had a mother in Mary’s heart. Mary probably even had these sinners in her abode eating with Jesus, as He wished to be with the lowliest of the lowly in society.
If God can make a young girl, barely a teenager, and make her the mother of us all on earth; the mother of our Church on this world; and the Queen of the Universe, with her body and soul in heaven, imagine what can be done with us!
“Mary, thank you for saying ‘yes.’ You are my mother, my intercessor, and my Queen in heaven. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Catholic Saint of the Day: St. Dismas
All that is known of Dismas is that he is the Good Thief crucified with Christ on Calvary. The other thief is known as Gestas. A completely unsubstantiated myth from the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy that enjoyed great popularity in the West during the Middle Ages had two thieves who held up the Holy Family on the way to Egypt. Dismas bought off Gestas with forty drachmas to leave them unmolested, whereupon the Infant predicted that they would be crucified with Him in Jerusalem, and that Dismas would accompany Him to Paradise. His feast day is March 25th.
(From http://www.catholic.org/saints/ website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #25:
Regarding expenses necessary for the life of the fraternity and the needs of worship, of the apostolate, and of charity, all the brothers and sisters should offer a contribution according to their means. Local fraternities should contribute toward the expenses of the higher fraternity councils.