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Association of the Miraculous Medal
Weekly Gospel Reflection
Besides her great privilege of being the Mother of God, Mary was also her Son’s first disciple. She is often called the Model, or Exemplar of the Church. Following her example, we walk with her through the Gospels as we reflect on her response to God in her life.

December 21, 2014—Fourth Sunday of Advent

  Luke 1:26-38

Father Oscar Lukefahr, C.M.

A nun told me that she wanted to explain today’s Gospel to her second grade class, so she asked them how the story of Christmas began. A boy raised his hand and said, "Well, it could begin in two ways: ‘Once upon a time,’ or ‘Long, long ago.’"

Actually, the story of Christmas began with the Incarnation, as described in the Gospel. Christ’s birth came nine months later, and we'll celebrate his birthday on December 25. The word, "Christmas" ("Christ’s Mass"), indicates the best way to celebrate. It’s praying the Mass, for the Mass IS Jesus.

There are many similarities between Christ’s birth and the Mass. For example, both might seem too ordinary, too humble. Some people leave the Mass behind in order to join "megachurches" with spectacular choirs and celebrity interviews. But if we can’t find Jesus in the Mass, we don’t know Jesus. Those who can’t find Jesus in a simple Catholic church would have walked past the manger at Bethlehem, looking for something more dignified than a stable. Those who suppose that celebrities are the key to successful worship services would never have welcomed the shepherds, whom angels invited to the first Christmas.

Jesus, born in a stable, was serenaded by angels and adored by shepherds. We adore the same Jesus, and we must celebrate Mass with the humility of the shepherds and the enthusiasm of the angels. We must express our faith, hope, and love in the way we pray, sing, attend to the readings, and receive Holy Communion.

The story of Christmas did not begin with "Long, long ago" or "Once upon a time." It began when Mary said to Gabriel: "I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." At her word, Christ entered the world by the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, Jesus enters our world at every Mass. "O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord!".

Read last week's reflection.