Gospel Reflections

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Luke 1:26-38

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Roseanne Murphy

Published: December 08, 2018


Gabriel must have been shocked when he appeared to Mary. His first words were “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” Gabriel was stunned by what he saw in Mary - a young girl radiating the beauty of a soul undimmed by the slightest resistance to God’s grace. Mary must have been startled, to say the least, when suddenly there was an angel addressing her and telling her she was to have a child. Gabriel had to assure her so he said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”

We can imagine that it must have taken a few minutes, at least, for her to realize that Gabriel was real and that he spoke for God.  She was hearing the unthinkable—she was to bear a son and “he will be great and will be called the 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.” When Gabriel explained how the birth was to come about, Mary may have had at least some reassurance that the Holy Spirit would have to take care of arranging some things for her, otherwise it is hardly possible that she wouldn’t have told at least her mother what had happened. But even then,Mary’s faith could not have kept her from wondering how Joseph would take this new event as well as the townspeople and her neighbors. Thankfully, she found solace in Elizabeth who knew that God had spoken to her and she had said “yes.” 

Maybe we have read and prayed over this passage in scripture so many times that it has become too familiar for us. Perhaps this Advent we might try to read it as if for the first time, if that is possible, and try to imagine how Mary must have felt. Although she was “full of grace” she still shared our humanity and experienced the joys and sorrows of life.  Maybe we need to be reminded that she was only a teenager even though she obviously had the courage of a grown woman.  Her “fiat” changed the world forever.  Sometimes, we may struggle with our own “fiat” when the unexpected happens to us. So no matter how many times we have read this passage, it always has something important to tell us.

 

 

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