We pray + in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Sprit. Amen.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (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 for ever, 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.
The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!
Reflection: Please check the parish website later this afternoon for an audio recording of my homily from today's Mass (click here for audio). Here is the text (reading time- 5 minutes).
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you: Greetings to you, Mary. God was a present reality and relationship in your life. Actually, from the first moment of your conception, in the womb of your mother, St. Anne, the Father totally consumed your life so as to fill you with His life, His Divine Life, His grace. He kept you free from all sin the moment of your pure, your immaculate, conception.
Blessed are you among women: The Father chose you, and you alone for this very special and essential role, integral to His plan of salvation for his sons and daughters. He chose you, from all women, to be the Ark of the New Covenant, to carry inside of you He who would bring forgiveness, healing and eternal life to those who share in His Eucharist. You, and you alone play a unique part in the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. Why you and not someone else? Answer: Because that’s the way God wanted it.
And blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus: but your role does not supplant the role of the one you brought to life. He is the means by which salvation and eternal life is offered to the world. With your “yes” (Lk 1:38) to God, given through the angel Gabriel, set in motion of series of events planned since the beginning of time. The Father’s plan culminates in the Death and Resurrection of His Son, but He could not have accomplished that without your voluntary assistance. And in this way, you teach us what it means to say “yes” to God. You invite us to follow your example and proclaim: Let it be done to, in, and through me what you will, Father. I am your servant. Mary, you teach us, how to be disciples and say “yes” to the Father’s plan in our life.
Holy Mary, Mother of God: you are Theotokos: the God-Bearer. This is the great mystery of your life: how could a human woman bring to life the very God who created her? This is a great mystery: a great miracle: God exercising total control over the laws of nature that He Himself created to accomplish His plan. You gave to God a human body that He might know fully what it means to be human. And because of your own immaculate conception in your mother’s womb, you were a worthy vessel to carry He who is pure Holiness. And that’s why we see your image in white and blue: colors of purity and of divinity.
Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death: because of your flawless discipleship and exemplary holiness your Father and Creator and Son, raised you into heaven without having tasted the sting and corruption of death. You now sit incorruptible and without blemish at the feet of your Son interceding for us- your spiritual children. You pray for us, constantly, to your Son. And this is a great place of Hope for us: what son could refuse the requests of his mother? You constantly ask your Son to send to us the virtues and openness to the Father’s presence in our life that exemplified your own.
Mary, you are the Mother Of Jesus, the Mother of God; you are our Mother; you are own Queen of Peace; you remind us what it means to say yes to the Father’s plan in our life, and the reward that comes from a lifetime of Service, Love, Prayer and Forgiveness.
Amen: This I believe!
We Pray: O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin prepared a worthy dwelling for your Son, grant, we pray, that, as you preserved her from every stain by virtue of the Death of your Son, which you foresaw, we, too, may be cleansed and admitted to your presence. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.
+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.