According to Our Faith

Luke 1:26-38
Isa 7:10-14 / Psa 24

Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.
(Luke 1:38)

As Mary had set the example
In serving God with total trust,
If faith be our guiding principle
Then God will surely be with us.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; His kingdom will never end.” Mary asked the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” To this, Mary answered, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word. ” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:26-38)

Reflection

We do not really know if the Virgin Mary was well versed with the prophetic writings, particularly the words of Isaiah in the first reading: “. . . the Lord himself will give you a sign. The virgin is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.” (Isa 7:14) But her canticle in vs. 46 to 55 revealed her ecstatic feelings to her cousin Elizabeth, knowing that she occupied a unique place in the whole of mankind, because she was now bearing the Son of God. And yet this special honor in no way affected her humble disposition. She even took pains riding a donkey to visit her aging cousin, and stayed to serve her for three months until Elizabeth delivered her own baby. Today’s Gospel reading highlights what we admire most in Mary: her humility, submission, and obedience to God’s will. Her example clearly defines the meaning of discipleship, which we all should strive to emulate.

Another outstanding trait of our Blessed Mother was her courage. She submitted to the plan of God, in spite of the dangerous consequences of being found pregnant before her marriage to Joseph. No hesitation, apprehension, doubt or fear – with total trust, from this innocent, peasant maiden, and God honored her to become the Mother of His Son. Her total obedience and faith endeared her to the Father. Our Lord Jesus once said, “According to your faith it will be done for you” (Mt.8:13). This has always been a powerful principle in life that always works for us.

In many instances it has been proven that faith alone can bring about remarkable consequences. A group of doctors once performed a radical experiment that proved the power or paradox of the placebo. Seventeen volunteer patients who were suffering severe angina were recruited. On nine of them surgeries were performed, but with the other eight the only operation performed were skin-deep incisions – just to give the impression that actual surgeries had been undertaken. Both groups responded well. One placebo patient actually recovered completely, and most of the patients in both groups reported substantial improvement. It wasn’t the surgeries but the patients’ faith in the success of the surgeries or the surgeons’ abilities that made the difference. There have also been a number of cases of cancer patients whose diseases went into remission after the patients found renewed faith in God’s healing power, to their doctors’ amazement. Such is the kind of faith that we all need. With complete faith in Jesus Christ, all things are possible for us (Phil.4:13).

Lord God, in all circumstances, may we follow the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom You exalted because of her faith and complete trust in You. Amen.

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