Summary: Mary, mother of our Lord - called blessed by generations of believers - yet needing Jesus - her Savior.
August 15, 1999 Saint Mary, Mother of our Lord
Grace mercy and peace from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Throughout the Church year we honor and praise the Saints in such a way as
to not injure Christ or the Scriptures. By studying the Saints lives, we can
find, for ourselves, examples for us to follow in our own lives with Jesus.
We first hear about Mary in Matthew’s Gospel, but we get a little more detail
in Luke’s Gospel. God sent the angel Gabriel to visit Mary, a virgin,
pledged to be married to Joseph. In those days, in the Jewish community, a
pledge to be married was a very public contract and the couple was already
considered husband and wife. After a period of betrothal, the bridegroom
would come for his bride, take her home and after that live together. Mary
and Joseph had very definite plans about their futures but God had another
plan of His own. Gabriel approaches Mary and says “Greetings you are
highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary naturally was a little
apprehensive at the appearance of an angel but Gabriel comforts her and says
“ Do not be afraid Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with
child and give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus. He will be
great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord will give him
the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob
forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Mary, surprised and trouble at first by the visit, now asks the obvious
question “How can this be since I am a virgin?” Gabriel’s explains that the
Holy Spirit will come to her and that she will be overshadowed by the Most
High and that the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. To
further add credibility to his announcement, Gabriel mentions her cousin
Elizabeth who was old and barren yet she was in her 6th month of pregnancy
and that nothing is impossible with God.
All of the her apprehension was apparently gone for she simply stated
“I am the Lord’s servant may it be to me as you have said.”
God’s messenger stated God’s plan and Mary, with only one quick question
accepted God’s will for her. God said this is what we are going to do, she
only asked how, not why. When she understood, she simply stated “I am
the Lord’s servant.” She gave no arguments about timing or inconvenience.
She did not fret about explaining all of this to her family, friends or betrothed
husband, she accepted God’s plan and joyfully did her duty. Now at this
point we can any easily see how we can benefit by studying the lives of the
Saints? We often do our duty but is it Joyful?
In today’s Gospel lesson we learn more of Mary’s joy and thanksgiving in
what is called Mary’s song or the “Magnificat”. The name magnificat,
comes from the first word in the Latin version and means magnifies. The
song in which Mary exalted or magnified the Lord expressed divine truths,
for she borrowed the language from Hannah’s song of praise (1 Samuel
2:1-10) and from the passages in the Psalms and the Prophets which bring
praise and thanksgiving to God.
We also need to consider the 3 month visit Mary had with her cousin
Elizabeth, for this may have had a direct effect in Mary’s song. We know
that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit when she said to the much
younger Mary “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the child you
will bear! But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come
to me?” We all know from Luke 1:44 that John the Baptist also recognized
his Lord from the sound of Mary’s voice.
Can we imagine for a moment what it was like for these two women of
immense faith to visit together for 3 months. ,,,,, the trusted conversations
that they shared about their common experiences with the Lord.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
We can also benefit by private conversations with other trusted Christians
when we need reassurances. Our Pastors are not the only Christians that we
can converse with about our faith, our fears, our doubts our joys. Wouldn’t it
be nice if we took Mary’s example and had a faith partner that we could talk
with in complete confidence? And what about our Pastors? Do we allow
them this same privilege?
In the magnificat:
Mary praised the Lord with joy in him, as her God and Savior. Yes,
Mary also needs our Savior! Because of the special favor he had
shown her, she would be called blessed by all future generations of