Sunday, December 21, 2008  Do you trust God like Mary did? Do you believe in Incarnation?

Homily, Sunday, December 21, 2008

Father Kirity Podila

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ!

Today being the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Christmas is upon us and our gospel today deals with the announcement by the Angel Gabriel of he conception of Jesus Christ.

Our Blessed Lady is the central figure in today’s gospel. At this time, Mary was no more than a teenager – 15 years of age, 17 at most. Mary was a devout, religious Jewess and was familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures. She knew of the long-awaited Messiah. No one knew when He would come but most Jewish girls knew from the prophesy that He would be born of a virgin, so I am sure that many dreamed or hoped that they might be chosen to be the Mother of the Messiah.

So Mary would not be completely caught off guard by the words of the Angel Gabriel, “Rejoice, O highly favored daughter, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.”  Yes, she was troubled by his words and wanted to know what his greeting meant. The Angel Gabriel went on to say, “Do not fear, Mary. You have found favor with God. You shall conceive and bear a son and give him the name Jesus.” Mary’s reply to the Angel indicates that she has knowledge of human reproduction and knows that human conception takes place as a result of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. And that she personally is a virgin and intends to remain a virgin. “How can this be since I do not know man?” She is not doubting the angel’s message but questioning how can it happen in her case.

The angel answers here question directly. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will over shadow you; hence the holy offspring to be born will be called Song of God.” The angel explains how the conception is going to take place and I am sure Mary is willing to go along with that but the part that the offspring will be called Son of God was not completely clear to her.

The angel gives her a sign. “Know that Elizabeth, your cousin, has conceived a son in her old age and is now six month’s pregnant.” This sign is something real, something that can be verified, and Mary, who showed her trust all along, now was completely trustful, replied, “I am the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say.”

We have to admire Mary’s remarkable trust in God. She did not have too much to go on, but she trusted the words of the angel and ultimately trusted God. She had to take one day at a time like we all do and that’s why her trust is so remarkable. Our gospel today is an annunciation story – the angel announcing the birth of Jesus. There are many annunciation stories in the Scriptures – the birth of Isaac, the birth of Samson, the birth of Samuel, the birth of John the Baptist. All the births were announced by angels and all were made to elderly couples so Go could perform a miracle and allow an elderly couple to conceive a child. But this announcement was to a young girl and the conception will take place without the cooperation of a man. This was unusual, to say the least. Nothing like this had ever happened before. God could do it. Many believe that He could. Mary trusted; Mary had faith. But it is still a mystery to us. The mystery of the Incarnation – God taking on human flesh – Divinity taking on humanity. This is what Christmas means. This is a great meditation preparing for Christmas. Do you trust God like Mary did? Do you believe in Incarnation? Make an act of faith in the Incarnation. Amen.


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