Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In five days time we shall celebrate the birth of Our Lord and Savior. The promise of these 4 weeks of Advent will soon be reaching its fulfillment and perhaps the final scramble is on. The most important person during this expectant time is Mary of Nazareth. We have rejoiced in her Immaculate Conception, been exceedingly grateful for her appearance and message in our hemisphere (Guadalupe); and are in awe as we hear the messages sent from God through the Angel Gabriel that she had been chosen to bear and bring the Messiah into the world.
Pondering the Annunciation in today’s Gospel leaves us in wonderment. How would you react if an Angel appeared out-of-the-blue with a message of universal significance and asked you to cooperate in the Divine Plan? No doubt we would be “shaking-in-our-boots.” Such is not the case with Mary. From her infancy no other human being had been closer to God. Surely, she was Immaculately conceived, completely without the stain of Original Sin, but nonetheless God’s will. “Fiat!” – let it be done, according to Thy Word. Her response is simple, straightforward, direct and without hesitation. Aside from her Son’s ultimate humility during His passion and death, Mary’s resignation in humble surrender is ‘par excellence’ humankind’s cooperation with the Divine. Without the slightest foresight of what her cooperation entails her “yes” to God is complete.
Many great men in our national history have attributed their success to the teaching, example, and guidance of their mothers. Just read the biographies of George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, to name a few. From the Cross Jesus gave us His mother to be our own. We could not possibly have a greater, wiser or more noble example to lead us to her Son. We do as she herself has done and said: “Do whatever He tells you.” If we do, no angelic visitation would set us aright.
On behalf of Father Sahd, Deacon Paul and myself, we wish all of our parishioners and their families a joyful, healthy and deeply spiritual Christmas. For many it has been a challenging 10 months or more. The uncertainties of those days have perplexed us and even have shaken the faith of some. Always we put our trust in God and implore His grace of healing and mercy. Let echo in our hearts His consoling words: “Be not afraid. I am with you always.”
A Blessed Christmas,