Favors, Blessings, Graces from God

by | Dec 19, 2023 | Formation, Reflections | 1 comment

Jesus, the one anointed with the Holy Spirit and sent by the Father, brings the Good News to the poor.  He proclaims the era of favors from heaven.

The angel Gabriel comes to Mary. As he greets her, he does not say the name of the virgin betrothed to Joseph. Rather, the angel calls her “full of grace” or full of favors from God.

But for Luke, “full of grace” may just mean “gracious” or “pleasing” (Comentarios al evangelio 2). It is a phrase or word that fits brides and wives most of all. So then, such a phrase or word may not have the meaning that theologians give to it.

But all the same, Luke’s text makes clear that God has given Mary her fill of favors. Besides the phrase, “full of grace,” there is the saying that she has found favor with God. After all, God gives all living things their fill of favors. And these are for the ungrateful and the wicked, too.

And due to God’s favors, Mary should not fear. She also gets one more favor. For God chooses her to be the mother of Jesus who will be great. And he will be called the Son of the Most High and will sit on David’s throne. Of course, for him to rule forever as David’s son means that Nathan’s prophecy comes true.

Mary, then, replies to the angel, “How can this be since I have no relations with a man?” Yes, the betrothed to Joseph says she is a virgin. That is why she is puzzled as she hears that she will bear a son. Hence, her answer shows wonder more than doubt. Her concern does not have to do with knowing. She is not like old Zechariah who asks, “How can I know this?”

Lowly before the favors from the fascinating and awesome Mystery that Christ makes known to us

In the end, the one who will be Jesus’ mother says: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me as you say.” She is lowly and in wonder before the angel and his words.

And that is how lowly and in wonder we are to be before favors from heaven. Before the greatest of all favors, that is to say, before the Word made flesh. He is strong as he becomes weak like us. A fool for love, he stays wise.

He also makes true our longing that justice blossom fully in our days and that peace thrive. And that he shield those who are poor and fill them with good things.

And to stay truly lowly and in wonder before the Mystery of the Word made flesh means this: the Church, which we are, stays true, as a wife, to the Lord just as he wants her to do.

Lord Jesus, look on us lowly folks and let us have our fill of your favors. And grant that we go your Supper, the source of all grace (SV.EN IX:187).  

24 December 2023
Fourth Sunday of Advent (B)
2 Sam 7, 1-5. 8b-11. 16; Rom 16, 25-27; Lk 1, 26-38

1 Comment

  1. Tom M

    Thanks, Ross. Blessed Christmas