December 9, 2019

Gospel LK 1:26-38 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, full of grace! 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. 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; for nothing will be impossible for God.” 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. Reflection Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the day when Catholics celebrate their belief that Mary was conceived in her mother’s womb without original sin. Today’s Gospel relates the story of how years later, as an innocent young girl, Mary was visited by an angel who announced that she would become with child by the “power of the Holy Spirit.” In the Western Christian Church we are now in the season of Advent, a time of preparation for the Incarnation, when Jesus came “in the flesh” on Christmas day. But, the “coming of Jesus” should not be only viewed as an annual event. The same Holy Spirit who conceived Jesus in Mary’s womb lives every day in those of us who believe in Jesus. Whenever we lift the spirits of the downtrodden, we give witness to the Spirit of Jesus Christ alive in the world. Just as Mary accepted and prepared for the birth of Jesus, may through our actions we make Christ known in the world today and every day. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”  Saint Paul- Galatians 2:20