The Gospel Today
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
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.
Reflection (Sem. John Paul Adia):
The connotation of calling is more on an invitation to a certain life like priesthood. But in this priestly vocation, there are no mystical visions or appearances of an angel. This is directly done by God into my life and it is a difficult “Yes.” As I have reflected on the response of Mary, she asked not because she was troubled but it is more on her innocence. People at her age may think first of their future plans and prioritize their youthful days. This is somehow relative on how did I respond to this so-called calling. I can say that my “want” in entering the seminary started out when I was in high school and I may say that it is my most authentic calling because I was never been active in our parish nor have any involvement in any activity. The decision making is based on what my parents would say. But they see more the idea of what I can be aside from being a priest. I never had that courage to respond. I even stopped asking God if He would still allow me to go on with this vocation. But Mary, with that same teenage year, made a courageous response and never did let her age became a hindrance of her acceptance for the conception of our Savior.
Humility is what being asked of me in my meditation for this sacred mystery – the Annunciation of birth of Jesus. Can I really be humble enough to be worthy of God’s graces? In this seminary formation, I learned that the word that we utter reflects what kind of identity we are trying to form or mold. This is very evident especially when we had our semestral break. I had an opportunity to join my mother in their Virgen del Barangay prayers and I was surprisingly assigned to give a reflection. During that time, I just let the Holy Spirit rule over my mind for me to say words that may glorify God and it really did happened. I have seen the different approach towards the words that I said and they told me that it greatly made them reflect. But in that moment, I may boast my present identity. Nevertheless I realized that the credit should always be returned to God – that on that certain moment, he let Himself be seen in me through the reflection that I gave. Therefore, the glory will always be for Him. I am praying especially with the intercession of our Mother, Mary, who is the greatest model of Humility and Faith.