BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches.

Simbang Gabi – Day 05
December 20
Lk 1:26–38

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.

The Gospel of this fifth day of our Simbang Gabi is the story of the Annunciation to Mary as found in the Infancy Narrative of St. Luke. The Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she has been chosen by God to be the Mother of His Incarnate Son.

Although we have heard this Gospel account over and over again, may we not lose the feeling of wonder and surprise at the whole event. If we just put ourselves in the actual situation of Mary, this, indeed, is the greatest surprise of all surprises ever.
First, the angel – an archangel, in fact – appeared and talked to Mary. Being in the presence of a heavenly creature is not any simple and ordinary event. Anybody will be shocked and astonished to the point of being petrified and stupefied.


Second, all this happened in the most unlikely place, Nazareth. The place that God chooses to enter our world, where the Mystery of Incarnation happened, is not Athens or Rome, nor any of the other great centers of power, culture and learning in the world of the time, but an unknown and remote town in Palestine.

Third, God did not choose a princess from a royal palace nor a scholarly lady nor someone of high social status, but a maiden named Mary of Nazareth. She is just a simple lady, without any significant social and economic standing, and unknown to many. Yet in the eyes of God, she is the greatest and the best creature ever. It is to her that He entrusted His only Son. It is from her that the Incarnate Son took His mortal flesh.

The only reason why God chose Mary is expressed in the words of the Angel: “Hail, full of grace!” This simply means that God showered her with an abundance of heavenly gifts and her participation in the divine nature is infinitely greater than what is given to all the angels and saints taken together. She is the Immaculate Conception, without any stain of sin. Hence, there can be no other human being worthy of this unique privilege and role.

Interestingly, however, the whole event is called ‘The Annunciation of the Lord.’ In the final analysis, though Mary is the main protagonist here, it is never about her at all. It is all about Jesus Christ, for this is the very first moment when He took flesh and became man.

This great Mystery was all set in motion by a short response from this humble maiden of Nazareth: “Behold, I am the maidservant of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to your word.” With such a simple but profound faith, she had no doubts whatsoever in the words of the angel. She gave her unequivocal and unconditional ‘fiat’ or ‘yes’. Although at this time she may not yet have fully grasped the consequences of this ‘yes’, yet she steadfastly held on to her ‘yes’ to God all through her life, even up to those horrifying moments beneath the Cross of her Son. Never did she withdraw that ‘yes’, not even for a single fleeting moment.

The Blessed Mother never fails to inspire us in our life as disciples of Christ. In our baptism, we have said our ‘yes’ to the invitation of Jesus to follow Him. We pray that, like Mary, may our ‘yes’ be also categorical, unconditional, and irrevocable, by the grace of God and with her motherly assistance.

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches.


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