A Reflection From Fr. Gerry
I believe it is very appropriate that on this 4th and final Sunday of Advent that we focus our attention for a little while on the greatest woman that ever lived, Mary, the mother of Jesus. If you walk into any Catholic church in any part of the world today, most likely you will see a statue, shrine, or a picture honoring Mary. However, honoring Mary had a rather late start in the Church because during the first four centuries the big questions for them was the true identity of Christ. The Church was fully absorbed at finding answers to the rather complex question at the time and that was concerning the humanity and the divinity of Christ.
It was around the 5th century that the Church turned its attention to Mary and that attention, and that honor has continued to this day. However, there were times and there were cultures, including my own, where it seemed that Mary was put in the place of Christ. Of course, scripturally speaking, that is not right, and Mary certainly would not want that. So, we worship God, and we honor Mary, that has always been Catholic Church teaching.
We honor Mary for a number of reasons and first of all, she was selected to be the mother of Jesus, it would be difficult to come up with a higher honor than that. So, I want to focus now on her prayerfulness. Mary must have had wonderful parents who instilled in her at a very early age a deep appreciation of prayer-good, honest, sincere prayer. Just a few examples-When the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was to become the mother of Jesus, Mary’s response was to pray. Her prayer was a prayer of surrender. She prayed the words, “Be it done unto me according to your will.”
When Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth and she experienced some movement in her womb, she responded again in prayer. Her prayer was one of praise, and this prayer happens to be one of the most powerful prayers in all of Scripture – the Magnificat, which begins with those beautiful words, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior.” One of my favorite scriptures happens to be the marriage feast of Cana. The wine ran out and running out of wine at a wedding in that part of the world at that time would be like running out of beer at many of our festivals here in Michigan. However, the problem was presented to Mary. Mary responded and this time her prayer was a prayer of petition and the couple was saved from what could have been a very embarrassing situation.
These are just a few examples of the prayerfulness of Mary and so we honor her once again as she continues to be a prayerful example and an inspiration to us all. May God go with you.
READINGS FOR DECEMBER 20, 2020
1st Reading—2 Samuel 7: 1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16—With help from the prophet Nathan, King
David decided to build a house for the Lord to dwell in. “Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.”
Responsorial Psalm: 89: 2-3, 4-5, 27, 29—“Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord, the goodness of the Lord.”
2nd Reading—Romans 16: 25-27—According to Paul, the gospel reveals the mystery hidden for long ages but now, at God’s command, is made manifest in Christ Jesus.
Alleluia—“Alleluia! Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. Alleluia!”
Gospel—Luke 1: 26-38—The angel addressed Mary, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” When Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord,” she became a model for all.
Due to some computer difficulties, the prayers of the faithful and the announcements for this weekend are not available.