In the sixth month, 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.
I AM THE HANDMAID OF THE LORD. The prophet Isaiah speaks to Ahaz, King of Jerusalem. His kingdom is about to be invaded by enemies from Aram and Israel. Isaiah tells Ahaz not to be afraid and admonishes him to keep trusting in God. The prophet suggests that the king ask God for a sign. When Ahaz refuses, the prophet insists on a sign: a virgin shall conceive a child, and he will be called Emmanuel. Apparently, the king has already made up his mind on forging a political-military alliance with Assyria who will eventually conquer Jerusalem.
We see a different disposition in Mary as the angel presents God’s offer for her to become the mother of Jesus. As their conversation commences, naturally there is fear and apprehension in Mary’s heart. The angel greets her, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” Seeing Mary’s fear, Gabriel assures her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”
The fear and apprehension in Mary’s heart melt away after the angel explains to her that she will conceive and bear a Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. “He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.” Even if Mary is not given a bill of particulars, she says yes, trusting in the grand plan of God.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.