A reading from the Book of Numbers (Numbers 6:22-27)
“They shall put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them…”
The Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron and his sons, thus you shall bless the sons of Israel: you shall say to them, The LORD bless you and keep you: The LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you: The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. “So shall they put my name upon the sons of Israel, And I will bless them.”
The word of the Lord
RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6 and 8
R/. O God, be gracious and bless us
O God, be gracious and bless us
and let your face shed its light upon us.
So will your ways be known upon earth and
all nations learn your salvation. R.
Let the nations be glad and shout for joy,
with uprightness you rule the peoples;
you guide the nations on earth. R.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
May God still give us his blessing
that all the ends of the earth may revere him. R/.
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians (Galatians 4: 4-7)
“God sent forth his Son, born of a woman.”
Brethren: When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir.
The word of the Lord.
ALLELUIA: Hebrews 1: 1-2
Alleluia. In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son. Alleluia.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 2: 16-21)
“They found Mary and Joseph, and the baby . . And at the end of eight days, he was called Jesus.”
At that time: The shepherds went with haste to Bethlehem, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Three-year-old Alexa was saying her prayers with her mother: “Mommy, did Jesus say his prayers with his mommy every night?” Her mother responded, “I suppose so.” Alexa quickly added, “What did he pray for?” Her mother whispered, “He probably said thanks like you do!” Alexa said, “Did he thank God for his mommy?” Her mother replied, “Oh I think so. If his mommy didn’t say ‘yes’ to the angel, Jesus would not be here.” Then Alexa, satisfied with her mother’s answer, said, “Then I want to pray for Jesus’ mommy too, for bringing me Jesus.” And so, she prayed.
Alexa learned quickly that Mary played a major role in salvation history. After God made the universe and fashioned humankind in his image and likeness, God decided to become flesh. The angel Gabriel asked Mary if she would be willing to help God. Giving Mary this choice placed the all-powerful God at the mercy of Mary, a human being!
Mary had the opportunity to refuse the angel by saying “no.” Instead, Mary, a humble peasant girl from a little-known place in the world, heard the angel’s words in her heart, and she heard another voice whispering, “Mary, will you let my will be done?” Mary uttered her reply with words God longs to hear from all his creatures, including us: “Here is your servant, Lord, may your kingdom be born through me.”
With Mary’s fervent response, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus became man! With her simple and powerful “yes,” Mary gave her body to be a place for God’s son. Mary became the Mother of God, and our mother too!
Alexa is correct! Christians owe Mary an enthusiastic thank you for bringing Jesus into our world, our hearts and our lives. Through time, God recalls Mary’s enthusiastic reply and longs to hear every baptized Christian utter Mary’s tender consent: “Oh my God also take my body to do your will.” Today, Mary longs to hear these same words from us as well.