(Fr. Robert Rodgers is the regular contributor of this column. His Dad, Neil, died in Casper last week following a battle with cancer. Could we all please pray for the happy repose of Neil’s soul? “May his soul and the soul of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”)
In this four-week period of Advent, we are preparing for the two comings of Christ. During the first two weeks of this Advent season, our Sacred Scripture readings and prayers focus on the second coming.
This will occur at the end of time (as we know it) when Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead.
We remind ourselves that we must be prepared at all times to meet our loving Savior when He comes, because “we know not the hour or the day.”
From last Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent (also known as Gaudete Sunday) until Christmas day, we shift our focus to Jesus’ first coming. He came to us as an infant, born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was human in all respects, except that He was born and lived without the stain of sin. The Son of God and the Son of Man — a divine mystery that we will not be able to understand in this life.
I’d like to share a few of my beliefs and thoughts about the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus (and of us all, as we are “sons and daughters” in Christ), whom we might tend to somewhat overlook during this time. I believe that Mary has an important place in the history of salvation. As asserted in Matthew, Chapter 1 (NABRE) at the end of the genealogy of Jesus, “Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah.”
In Luke 1 we learn that the angel Gabriel was sent to a town in Galilee called Nazareth to a virgin (Mary) betrothed to a man named Joseph (also of David’s lineage). He announced 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…”
Many believe that Mary was a young teenager at the time. And, at that, a very reserved, sheltered, and holy young teenager.
She asked the angel how this could happen since she was a virgin. “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.’” Luke tells us, “Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’”
Wow! What faith, love and Commitment!
As we approach Christmas day, are we able to recognize and accept the fact that God is in charge? Are we able to turn all our fears, worries and concerns over to Him? Are we able to follow Mary’s example and submit ourselves to God’s will?
Deacon John Bigelow
Holy Name Catholic Church