Readings 20141220

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

How does God reveal his favor to us? In the psalms we pray, “Lord, show me a sign of your favor” (Psalm 86:17). In the Old Testament God performed many signs and miracles to demonstrate his love and mercy for his people, such as their deliverance from slavery in Egypt and the miraculous crossing of the Red sea on dry land (Psalm 78:43-53). When Ahaz, king of Judah and heir to the throne of David (735 B.C.) was surrounded by forces that threatened to destroy him and his people, God offered him a sign to reassure him that God would not abandon the promise he made to David and his descendants. King Ahaz, however, had lost hope in God and refused to ask for a sign of favor. God, nonetheless, gave a sign to assure his people that he would indeed give them a Savior who would rule with peace and righteousness (Isaiah 7:11ff).
The new era of salvation begins with the conception and birth of Jesus
We see the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy and the unfolding of God’s plan of redemption in the events leading up to the Incarnation, the birth of the Messiah King. The new era of salvation begins with the miraculous conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary. This child to be born is conceived by the gracious action of the Holy Spirit upon Mary, who finds favor with God (Luke 1:28).
His kingdom will have no end
As Eve was the mother of all humanity doomed to sin, now Mary becomes the mother of the new Adam who will father a new humanity by his grace (Romans 5:12-21). This child to be conceived in her womb is the fulfillment of all God’s promises. He will be “great” and “Son of the Most High” and “King” and his name shall be called “Jesus” (Luke 1:31-32), which means “the Lord saves.” “He will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The angel repeats to Mary, the daughter of the house of David, the promise made to King David: “The Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end” (2 Samuel 7:12-16, Isaiah 9:6-7, Luke 1:32-33).

Mary is a true hearer of the Word of God
How does Mary respond to the word of God delivered by the angel Gabriel? She knows she is hearing something beyond human capability. It will surely take a miracle which surpasses all that God has done previously. Her question, “how shall this be, since I have no husband” is not prompted by doubt or skepticism, but by wonderment! She is a true hearer of the Word and she immediately responds with faith and trust.
Mary’s prompt response of “yes” to the divine message is a model of faith for all believers. Mary believed God’s promises even when they seemed impossible. She was full of grace because she trusted that what God said was true and would be fulfilled. She was willing and eager to do God’s will, even if it seemed difficult or costly. Mary is the “mother of God” because God becomes incarnate when he takes on flesh in her womb. When we pray the Nicene Creed we state our confession of faith in this great mystery: “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man”.
If we say “yes” to God we can live a grace-filled life
God gives us grace and he expects us to respond with the same willingness, obedience, and heartfelt trust as Mary did. When God commands he also gives the help, strength, and means to respond. We can either yield to his grace or resist and go our own way. Do you believe in God’s promises and do you yield to his grace?

“Heavenly Father, you offer us abundant grace, mercy, and forgiveness through your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Help me to live a grace-filled life as Mary did by believing in your promises and by giving you my unqualified ‘yes’ to your will and plan for my life.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
THE SCHOOL OF MARY

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” —Luke 1:35
Mary is a model disciple. She is worthy of being imitated.

Mary did God’s will, no matter what it entailed as the servant of the Lord.
She welcomed and received the Holy Spirit. Then she ministered with the Spirit’s power and the gifts during her visit to Zechariah and Elizabeth.
She gave her body to the Lord. So many these days will not let the Lord have their body. Often in today’s me-first culture, we hear: “It’s my body, and my choice of what I do with it.”
Mary regarded her body as a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19-20), and lived a holy lifestyle. In essence, she said to the Lord: “This is my body, to be given up for You.”
She was pure and holy. Her Child was “holy” (Lk 1:35). We disciples of Jesus are to likewise be pure (1 Jn 3:3) and holy (1 Pt 1:16).
As Christmas approaches, enroll in Mary’s school of discipleship. Learn a lesson from the model disciple.

Prayer: Father, may I follow You as did Mary. Promise: “The Lord Himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with Child, and bear a Son, and shall name Him Immanuel.” —Is 7:14 Praise: “O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at Your will the gate of heaven: come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead Your captive people into freedom.” (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

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