Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Reflection: Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Feast — Tuesday of the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time — Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23

This Gospel begins with the words: “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.” Matthew then details the story of Mary’s betrothal to Joseph and the appearance of the angel announcing to Mary that she would bear a child. However, her child would be not conceived with Joseph, Mary’s spouse. Mary truly was a woman of faith. Here she is listening to the angel that appeared to her and yet Mary accepted this bizarre announcement with seeming equanimity. Mary had to have had a deep faith. She also must have had a loving and trusting relationship with God long before the angel appeared to her and announced this good news.

Would we have such faith if an angel appeared to us and made such an astounding announcement to us? Or would we believe we were going crazy? How we respond likely would depend on the relationship we have with God or the lack of a relationship we have with God. Mary’s almost immediate assent to the angel’s pronouncement clearly speaks of the deep and trusting relationship she had with God. True, she asked the angel a question. Yet Mary did not hesitate to trust the angel’s announcement. And more importantly, she readily assented to God’s call and promise.

Mary is a model for us, no matter what our gender is. Mary was a woman of deep faith. She knew God and she trusted God. She was willing to place herself in a very awkward position when she responded to God’s call to bear God’s Son. She did not know how this would come about. Nor did she know what her future would be, but she did not hesitate in her response to the angel. She didn’t say to the angel: “I need to think about this and pray about this.” She simply said: “Let it be done to me.”

Each one of us also is called to bear Jesus Christ to our world every single day. Do we do believe that God can and will do amazing deeds through us? Do we trust that God walks with us each and every day, in good times and in difficult times?

Mary was chosen by God. However, we also have been chosen by God! Ask yourself: Do I truly believe this? Take some time today to sit quietly and several times say to yourself: “I am God’s chosen one.” Repeat that sentence several times and let this reality soak into your being!

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