Good News All the Way
A blog by Rich Harter
Director of Evangelization
Archdiocese of Milwaukee
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said 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. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”*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. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38)
God expects great things from us. Our lives are to be marked by obedient faith, reverent worship, holy living, and deep prayer. We are to spread the faith, serve the least, seek the lost, and love the enemy. Ultimately, God wants us to empty ourselves, take up our cross, and let our lives be taken, blessed, broken, and given for the life of the world. It seems fair to say that God is asking us to do the impossible!
Mary is the perfect model for those who doubt this call to impossible discipleship. God indeed has something extreme in mind for her! Appearing to this otherwise unknown young virgin of Nazareth, Gabriel announces that Mary has found favor with God and will give birth to Jesus, the Son of the Most High. Understandably troubled by this impossibility, Mary responds, “How can this be?”
In response, Gabriel speaks this amazingly good news: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” Mary will fulfill the hopes of God, not by human endeavor, but by the power of God working in her life. And when it comes to God, nothing is impossible!
Mary invites us to follow her down the seemingly impossible path of discipleship. God has big dreams and high hopes for us as well! And, just like Mary, if we believe in and surrender to the power of God working within us, nothing is impossible! Say it out loud: “Nothing will be impossible for God!”
Behold, we are servants of the Lord! May it be done to us according to God’s word!