Advent Day 22 – Good News for December 19

19 12 2010

Isaiah 7:10-14

The Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God; let it be deep as the netherworld, or high as the sky! But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the Lord!”

Then Isaiah said, Listen, O house of David! Is it not enough for you to weary people, must you also weary my God? Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.

The Daily Path: Today’s Gospel is a repeat of yesterday so I’m sharing the words of the prophet Isaiah that foretold the birth of Jesus to the virgin Mary. Did you know that the Qur’an mentions the birth of Christ and of Mary? It’s true. Both appear dozens of times. After receiving a comment from noted author Kashif Shahzada on yesterday’s post (GNTG 12/18) that led me to this bit of enlightenment, I started to think again about the void of understanding between so many on this earth. Where do we come together? What have I done to bridge the chasm, if anything? As we prepare for the birth of Christ, it strikes me that instead of harping on what divides we should spend our time finding common ground to build understanding, tolerance, peace, and the love of God. Governments and political agendas can’t accomplish this, but I believe people who are “truly” enlightened by God can.

Kashif, thank you for reaching out. Peace be upon you.

Advent Day 11 – Good News for December 8

8 12 2010

Luke 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 Daily Path: Imagine the surprise when you arrive at the door of your fiance and she announces a pregnancy… her own! Not only that, but she also springs news of a supernatural being making an appearance to tell her of “the test results” accompanied by a heavenly request for the child to be named Cornelius. You might quickly run down a mental checklist of how this could be, coming to a screeching halt on the fact that you never had sex with the woman who, up until this moment, you believed to be a virgin. Astonishment? To say the least. Cause for a trip to the counselor’s coach? Most likely. Yet this is pretty much what happened to a young girl named Mary and her much older fiance, Joe the carpenter, some two thousand years ago.

How would you have taken this news as the mother or father to be? Would you have taken it all in stride having complete faith that nothing is impossible for God? I don’t think I would have, but there is my challenge!

Last Day of May – Good News for May 31

31 05 2010

Luke 1:39-56

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.”

Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

The Daily Path: In the 16th century, Catholics in Italy began to hold devotions to Mary, the Blessed Mother of Jesus, during the month of May. I learned of this as a first grader attending St. Joseph’s Elementary School. Each day in May we would bring flowers from our gardens for placement around a statue of Mary. This seemed very appropriate as who among us would not wish to honor our mother? Especially young children not that far removed from their own mother’s womb.

Some of the flowers would be ornate arrangements and carefully wrapped in tissue paper, while others looked to be picked on the way to school and hastily packaged in crinkled aluminum foil. The amazing thing was that regardless of the presentation or state of these little offerings, great pride was evident on the faces of all my classmates. This was a very big deal for us. The intent was so pure. From the toughest kid to the wimpiest. Rich or poor. It didn’t matter. We all wanted to honor Mary.

I wonder how many of us still recall those days? And how many still hold the desire to honor the Blessed Mother of the Christ?