Saturday, March 25, 2017

“God's plan for your life is happening right now. It doesn't begin when you get married or when you get your dream job or when everything feels perfect. You are IN the plan.”

God wills only our good; God loves us more than anybody else can or does love us. His will is that no one should lose his soul, that everyone should save and sanctify his soul: “Not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance[49].” “This is the will of God, your sanctification[50].” God has made the attainment of our happiness, his glory. Even chastisements come to us, not to crush us, but to make us mend our ways and save our souls. -- St. Alphonsus de Ligouri: (1696 –1787: was an Italian Catholic bishop, scholastic philosopher, and theologian)

Gospel Text: (LK 1:26-38)
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.

The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord is easily captured in one word, "Yes." We are all familiar with the story of the incarnation of the Son of God through the generous availability of the maiden Mary. After some questioning and calming of her fears, Mary readily yields in faith and trust to the invitation through the angel Gabriel to be the Mother of the Son of God.

To what do we believe God is inviting us now? What are our fears and reservations in responding to various urgings of God? Do we worry about fears and raise questions when we perceive God calling and inviting us to do and offer something? Such would be perfectly normal and understandable when asked for something we are not familiar with which brings about apprehensions, reservations and even fears. What we have to watch out for is that such fears and apprehensions do not paralyze us. For we know that there is always something beautiful and fulfilling for us if God asks and invites us.

Is Jesus challenging us to a deeper faith in him? Are we being called to reconcile and make up with those who may have hurt us? Are we asked to do charity work or to be more involved in the life of the Church through our parish? Are we able to forgive ourselves for our shortcomings and weaknesses, realizing the great understanding and mercy of God? Are we being led to truly unexpected challenges or undertakings?

It is important to see that such invitations are always in the context of our participation in the mission of salvation initiated by the Lord Jesus. It is only in this wider context that we may be able to appreciate that our positive response, our "Yes," enhances the reign of God and is thus a fulfillment of Jesus' promise that he will always be with us.

God wants only one answer, our generous "Yes." Are we willing to take this risk with God as Mary did with the announcement by the angel Gabriel? It may not be easy (Mary's heart was pierced by many swords) but we could rest assured God will always be with us in any undertaking. God was always with Mary in support of her generosity and fidelity. God will be the same with us.

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