March 25, 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:
“The angel Gabriel was sent from God………
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.”
Can I begin to imagine how frightened I would be if an angel appeared and greeted me by name?
“Hi Jim, the Lord be with you.”
Saint Luke tells us in today’s gospel that Mary
was “greatly troubled” and “pondered” the angel’s greeting, letting his readers know that young Mary was probably badly frightened and perhaps even wondered if she was hallucinating.
The angel Gabriel certainly recognized Mary’s fear. His next words were,
“Do not be afraid, Mary…..”
Mary offered no resistance to Gabriel’s astounding news that by the power of the Holy Spirit she was to be the mother of the Son of God.
Her only question being, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”
When confronted with something outside of our control or understanding, it is quite natural to be frightened. But, Mary did not give in to her fear.
Instead, she relied upon faith in her loving God.
When anxious or frightened, I often become angry. My first instinct is to try to “fix things.”
I can become determined to “make” things happen rather than “let” things happen. My sense of well-being may come from the illusion that I am in control. So often my need to control only serves to frustrate God’s desire to bring about His will in my life.
When I find that fear is screaming for me to control the situation, is when I need to pray and ask Jesus to help me “Let go and let God.”
Through the grace of God and spiritual programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon, I am coming to realize what Mary knew two thousand years ago, “The antidote to fear is Faith.”
When, like Mary, I am able to give up worry, fear, and my need to control, then all things will eventually fall into place and God’s will shall be fulfilled.
“I will not fear for You are with me. You will not leave me to face my fears alone.” Thomas Merton