Fifth Gift


December 20, 2017

First reading                          Isaiah 7:10-14

The LORD spoke to Ahaz:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
"I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!" 
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David! 
Is it not enough for you to weary men,
must you also weary my God? 
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel.

Psalm                                    Psalm 24: 1-2, 3-4AB, 5-6


Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.


Gospel                                 Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month,
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 forever,
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.


Reflection

A Merry Recognition
By Bernard M. Borja

“Hail, Full of Grace…”

“Wow!” That is my one reaction every time I hear and pray this as I remember how the angel Gabriel addressed our beloved Mama Mary. As excited as the angel Gabriel, acclaiming someone who has found favor with God, honoring her is one of the most wonderful things close to my heart. For a time, I wondered how the angel Gabriel felt the moment he greeted Mama Mary.

I have witnessed people being honored in a way that they would feel the fullness of such privilege to be recognized. There are times I feel excited about it, but there are also times I wonder if a person deserves to be honored or even greeted in a very special way.

Sometimes I feel doubtful about some people to be deserving of a positive recognition. When I look at their life and what they mostly do, I can’t help but ask why should they even be greeted in a way that they are being lifted higher. As I see them, I can only think of the mistakes and bad choices that they do in most of their life.

But I realized, this is how we choose to see things. To look at people through the not so good things that they do. We do not even give an effort to think of one goodness in a person when we see them do wrong things, or worse, when we are reminded of what they did in the past. We have become fully judgmental, instead of choosing to recognize God’s grace in us and in other people.

When Gabriel greeted Mama Mary, she was reminded of God’s favor and the fullness of God’s grace given to her. I believe that because of this, it also helped our dear mother to say an “unwavering” yes to all that it will take to be The Lord’s mother.

We have already seen the effect of putting some people down and not recognizing their own goodness. We oftentimes see ourselves not deserving of God’s grace because we look at ourselves through our mistakes.

This Christmas, our beloved mother reminds us that we, too, are full of grace. It is how we greet ourselves and others negatively that drains out God’s grace in us. Like Mama Mary, we can magnify God’s favor in us by seeing goodness 
in each other, and giving each other (even ourselves) kindness. May we be excited like the angel Gabriel to honor each other because we all deserve to feel the “Wow!”, and because God came to us through Mama Mary to make us whole.

Prayer

Thank You, dear God for making us full and giving us Your favor to be honored, and to be deserving of Your grace. We ask forgiveness for all the times that we carelessly slip Your favor unto us and even take it for granted. Help us, especially all clergy and religious, to see the good in each other, as we prepare to welcome Your Son Jesus in whose Name we pray. Amen.

The Gift

Honor


Lord Jesus, in Your Mercy You have raised the lowly, You have looked with favor on the least, the lost, and the last. Today, we will see others as our equal, as our siblings in faith. May Mama Mary, Virgin full of grace, pray for us.  Amen.

(Bernard is a silent type person who express the works of God through various media communication. He is a freelance videographer who works on short documentary films about life dreams and inspirations. He is also an aspiring inspirational speaker who shares the wonderful works of God in his life. He always looks at the world through heaven's eyes, to relive each moment, and celebrate life in different perspectives.)

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