Lk 1: 26-38

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “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 holy; he will be called Son of God.

And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

God promise fulfilled

Pheidippides RAN from Marathon to Athens to announce the good news of the victory of the Spartans over the invading Persians. A professional runner, he had already run hundreds of miles in recent days; his heart was giving out. On arrival he proclaimed, “XAIRE” (“Rejoice!”) and died.

“Xaire” was the first word Gabriel spoke to Mary, often translated “Rejoice, O full of grace.”

But angels were not known to address humans in this way, which puzzled Mary. So Gabriel used standard angel-greeting language: “Do not be afraid, Mary. For you have found favor with God.”

God always keeps promises, and what God had promised at the beginning of the human race would now come true throughout the rest of human history. No one else ever said to God so complete a YES as she. God’s own Son would be born of this woman to save us all forever.

—Fr. Stephen Yavorsky, SJ, is the parochial vicar at St. Francis Xavier Parish and a staff member at the Ignatian Spirituality Center in Kansas City, MO. He spent six years in Rwanda, and founded the Ignatian Spirituality Program in Denver.

 

Prayer

Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with you. We rejoice at how completely you gave yourself to God, who completely gave his Son to us. Help us to feel your joy which is the very feeling of God’s good news within us. May your joy in us last forever. Amen.

—Fr. Stephen Yavorsky, SJ