BY; REV. FR. ORLY MENDOZA
Mary was born into a poor Jewish family in Galilee. Her father Joaquim and mother Ann were poor, simple, but devout Jewish parents and she became a devout and prayerful simple girl in the town. She was praying when the archangel Gabriel appeared to her and talked to her. Although she was a nobody in her community, still she was highly favored by God as revealed in the words of the angel: “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you” (Lk 1:28). Then the angel announced to her that she would become the mother of the Son of God. At that time, at the age of thirteen, Mary was betrothed to Joseph. But loving God above all things, she said “Yes” to the will of God for her, and the plan of God was fulfilled in her. This event shows how God highly favored Mary by converting her from being a nobody to becoming the Mother of the Son of God and Messiah and the Queen of Heaven and Earth whose name is praised from generation to generation.
Perhaps we may say how lucky and blessed Mary is. But then, if we are to look at our very selves, we can say that the words of the angel to Mary are also directly addressed to us at this very moment: “You are highly favored by God.” God has favored us by the fact that He has given us human life which is a share in the image and likeness of God. We are also gifted by God with the things that we possess: parents, husband or wife, children, relatives, friends, neighbors, job, house, business, education, talents, health, strength, virtues, and so on. Most especially, we are blessed by God with the new life of grace as children of God that we received through the Sacrament of Baptism and that was brought about by the sacrifice, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the only begotten Son of God.
With all the blessings that we receive from God every day, we cannot complain to God for whatever misfortunes befell us, problems that we face, and sufferings that we experience. When we feel that our world is crumbling down, we must not think that we are not favored by God. God is love who loves and cares for us more than what we think or feel; He is ever present to us even when we do not sense His loving presence; and He is working on our side and for our good even when we believe that everything and everyone is against us and that it seems that all the troubles surround us. We should never blame God for all the tribulations that we experience. God is good that He never does any harm to us. All these difficulties that we encounter are caused either by our mistakes and sinfulness or by the workings of the devil. In any case, we must not blame others especially God; rather, we must trust in God by constantly praying to Him and must do our part by working the best that we can to ease our pains, overcome difficulties, and emerge triumphantly and successfully.
Furthermore, we are blessed these days as Jesus Christ, the Messiah, Son of God and Mary, and our Lord is being born to us, not anymore in the stable of Bethlehem but rather in the heart of every one of us. For this reason, we must open our hearts to Him, accept Him as our Savior and Lord, and glorify and thank God for all the blessings that we receive for indeed, we are highly favored by God. Let us ask the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother, that she may help us become more like her, always disposed to sacrifice our plan and to say yes to and fulfill the will of God for us. Amen. God Bless!
FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
(Violet) Cycle B/Year II (December 24, 2023)
2Sm 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16/Rom 16:25-27/Lk 1:26-38
YOU WHO ARE HIGHLY FAVORED