by Jose Kurian Puliyeril
Reading: From the Gospel according to St. Luke 1: 26-38
The verse 28 of today’s reading starts with the salutation of the angel of God, where he says “Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women”. Let us divide this verse into three.
1) Thou art highly favored
2) The Lord is with thee
3) Thou art blessed among women.
The Angel was precisely doing his assignment. He was ordered by God to deliver God’s message to St. Mary and he did it gently. The orthodox version for the first part of the salutation is “you are highly graced”. So in the prayer “Hail Mary… we say ‘full of grace.” We believe that St. Mary got the highest blessing and grace from God Almighty. We could find a number of prophecies about the grace of God. In Psalms 84:11 we read that the Lord will give grace. In Proverbs 1:9 Solomon the wise describes the grace as an ornament. In Zechariah 4:7 we read of the crying grace and in 12: 10 we read about the spirit of grace. In St. John 1: 14 we read that the word of God which incarnated is full of grace and truth. Again in 1: 17 St. John confirms that the grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. In the second epistle to Corinthians (2 Corinthians 4:15) St. Paul declares that grace redound to the glory of God.
St. Mary got the highest favor and blessing from God Almighty. She was selected by God for the completion of His salvation process. She became instrumental for the great salvation of the entire mankind and the universe. We all long to get the grace from God Almighty. Unless and until we humble ourselves, we cannot inherit His grace as we expect. Though St. Peter teaches us that we are heirs of God’s grace (1 Peter 3:7) he says that the grace will be granted to the humble (1 Peter 5:5.) We know why St. Mary was selected for the highest grace in the world. It was nothing else other than her humbleness. Let us examine ourselves and see how far we are humble in our words and deeds. Unfortunately the modern man has forgotten the use and meaning of humbleness. He or she believes that wealth is everything and nothing can move him or her from the positions held by him or her. Let us bow our heads before God and confess that we are living so far without the proper humbleness. Let us beseech forgiveness from God Almighty. Let us wait with humbleness to listen our Lord’s saying “you are highly graced”. Let us pray for the gift of God to be humble and modest in our word and deed.
Our Lord incarnated to re-instate man in his original place when and where man lived with God and in God. Our Lord promised “if you would partake from His flesh and blood” He will live in us and we could live in Him. And for this reason only we attend the celebration of the Holy Eucharist every week and partake the Holy mysteries. But often we forget the truth that our actions are meant to obtain abide ness with God. And hence we do not feel the indwelling of God in us even after participating the Holy Eucharist. Here also we need to adopt modesty in our life style.
May God enable us all to hear His sweet voice “you are blessed among all women/Men”
Annunciation to St. Mary
by Rev. Fr. Happy Jacob
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