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Sunday, 21 December 2014

On Today's Readings part three

Mary is called "highly favored" in some translations by the Archangel Gabriel, the messenger. In the Judaic tradition, Gabriel is not only the messenger of God, but the destroying angel at the Passover in Egypt.

That Gabriel, who caused, in God's will, the last plague, which led directly to the freeing of the Hebrews from slavery, is the angel who tells Mary she will be the Mother of the Messiah, the Son of God, seems to be a happy non-chance.

I do not see in my imagination a soft, cuddling, feminine image of Gabriel. I see strength, a spirit of power and grace. Gabriel bursts into history again, as he did in the Old Testament.

He who paved the way for Moses to lead the people to freedom comes to announce to Mary that she leads us to freedom through her Son, Jesus Christ.

Mary is highly favored, she is blessed. She, alone of all humans, from conception, is full of grace. Gabriel knows this. He would not only be full of love, but awe at the call of this woman. Mary, as the Theotokos, the God-Bearer, now becomes Queen of all angels.

Her call reminds us of the long salvation history of the Old Testament. Gabriel comes to this lowly Hebrew young woman, explains God's will for her life, and waits for her answer. He who destroyed the first born of the Egyptians, brings news of the First Born of all creation, the Incarnate One, the Son of God, prefigured in Moses. Christ is the Savior, the real freedom fighter of all mankind. Gabriel waits.

Fiat voluntas Dei.

Gabriel returns to God and history is never the same. God enters the world through the womb of a young daughter of the Jewish people. All history points to this moment and all history moves away from this moment. Human life would never be the same again. Praise God!