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(Part 23)


December 20, 2019
Today’s gospel: Luke 1:26-38

You have heard of the saying, “like father, like son.” Indeed, we as children of God are called to be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect. But we also have our Blessed Mother. Mary is the one human most intimate with God, as she herself bore the Son of God. And we are to be like her in how she responded to God’s call. In this way we can be built on the Rock that is Christ.

Mary was troubled with how the angel Gabriel greeted her and with what he later told her. Indeed, to give birth without having relations with a man was impossible. And she would give birth to the great “Son of the Most High” (v.32a). But how did Mary respond? “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (v.38a). Mary was “of the Lord.” She was God’s disciple and would do whatever the Master willed. In the same way, we as MFC are “of Christ.” We belong to Jesus. He is our Lord and Master. We do whatever he wills, even as we might not fully understand what God intends to happen to us.

Gabriel told Mary, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.” (v.31). In God’s inscrutable wisdom, He would send His own Son into the world through the (super)natural process of being conceived, held in the womb of a woman for nine months, and then be born in a family. In this way God was giving importance to the family. Indeed, Jesus would stay in the family home until he was thirty years old before embarking on his public ministry. We too as MFC are about “Families.” We were raised by God to help renew and strengthen families. We have a womb-to-tomb family renewal ministry.

Gabriel also told Mary that her Son “will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (v.33). Jesus would restore the Kingdom for the chosen people of God, and he would reign forever. Now we as Christians are the new Israel. We are the people of God. But today, the Kingdom has been usurped by the evil one, who has dominion over the world. Thus, just like Jesus, our work is that of restoration­restoring the dominion of Jesus over the world, and helping restore our Church as the authentic body of Christ on earth. This happens as we do the work of evangelization and mission. Thus we as MFC are “Missionary.”

As we look at how God intervened in the life of Mary and how she responded, what should we learn about how to ourselves respond to God’s call?

First, we must know that God works wonders through ordinary people. Mary was an unknown person, living in a remote part of Israel, in “a town of Galilee, called Nazareth.” (v.26).She was just quietly going about her life, “betrothed to a man named Joseph” (v.27a). Then suddenly she is told she would bear a son who “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.” (v.32-33). Wow! Are you over the shock yet? But that is the way God works. He calls ordinary men and women and works wonders in and through them. In the same way, we in MFC are ordinary men and women, going about our private lives, but then called by God. Even as we are in awe of how God has chosen us, we must never put limits on what God can accomplish through us, if only we allow Him to work His wonders.

Second, we must give our yes to God and be obedient to His will. Mary said, “May it be done to me according to your word.” (v.38b). God cannot do anything through us if we do not allow Him. He does not force us. He patiently calls, even pursues us, but at the end of the day we still need to respond. In the work of evangelization, Jesus has said that the harvest is rich but the laborers are few. Did not Jesus come precisely to bring about a great harvest? But the problem is that the laborers that he is calling are not responding. And so the fruit withers on the vine. As we are called and chosen, we must humbly assent to God’s call, leave everything behind, and give God the priority that is rightfully His.

Third, we must not be afraid as we allow God to do His will in our lives. Gabriel said to Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” (v.30). If we somehow have found favor with God, then that is all that matters. Then in using us, God will provide, protect and empower us. God looks to instruments He can use. We must not limit what God can do in and through us, especially if we are afraid and so hold back. We must know that “nothing will be impossible for God.” (v.37). Even Elizabeth who was barren could conceive a son in her old age (v.36). In our nothingness, we too can be used by God to bear good fruit. Let God do His wonders, and just be awed at His works.

Fourth, we must strive to grow in holiness, so that the power of God may be in us and work through us. Gabriel told Mary, “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.” (v.35). Mary passed on her DNA to her Son Jesus. When we receive the body and blood of Jesus in the Eucharist, we receive the DNA of both Mary and Jesus. Both are holy. We too must be holy.

We as Missionary Families of Christ must be built on the Rock that is Christ. This happens as we go the way of our Mother Mary. We are holy warriors in the army of Mary.

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