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Gospel for Sunday, December 24: Luke 1:26-38

IV Advent B

26In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee, called Nazareth, 27to a virgin, betrothed to a man of the house of David, named Joseph. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28When he came to her, he said, “Rejoice, full of grace: the Lord is with you.” 29At these words she was greatly troubled and wondered what the meaning of such a greeting was. 30The angel said to her, “Fear not, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And behold, you will conceive a son and give birth to him and call his name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will have no end.” 34Then Mary said to the angel, “How shall this come to pass, for I know no man?” 35The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with his shadow. Therefore the one to be born will be holy and will be called the Son of God. 36And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month for her, who was said to be barren: 37nothing is impossible to God.” 38Then Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord: let it be to me according to thy word.” And the angel departed from her.

Lk 1:26-38

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather ( Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

The Liturgy presents us again today with the same passage that we meditated on a few days ago on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To it I refer you for a more timely exegesis.

But I do not think this insistence on the “Vocation of Mary,” reproposed to us on Christmas Eve, is accidental.

Her Vocation is in fact the prototype and model of all our vocations.

First of all, each of us has a vocation. “God the Father “chose us before the creation of the world to be holy and spotless before him in charity, predestining us to be for him adopted sons through Jesus Christ, according to the loving plan of his will” (Eph l,4-5). These are words that enable us to see life in its full sense: God “conceives” us in his image and likeness and wants us to be his children: we were created by Love, out of love and with love, and we were made to love. In the course of our lives, this call, inscribed within the fibers of our being and carrying the secret of happiness, reaches us, through the action of the Holy Spirit, in an ever new way, enlightens our intelligence, infuses our will with vigor, fills us with wonder and makes our hearts burn… The Church is precisely Ekklesía, a Greek term meaning: assembly of people called, summoned, to form the community of missionary disciples of Jesus Christ, committed to living out his love among them (cf. Jn. 13:34; 15:12) and to spread it among all, that the Kingdom of God may come” (Pope Francis).

An Angel is sent to each of us in our lives (Luke 1:26). A person, a reading, a homily that revealed to us God’s will for us. Or perhaps a series of events that led us to those choices for which we are here and now. On the other hand, Gabriel means “man of God, from gheber, “man,” combined with El, “God.” And the Lord has certainly placed “men of God” at our side to show us the way. And the vocation is renewed every day: at every age and in every circumstance I must know how to see the Angels of God who help me discern the divine will in my daily life.

The vocation is for everyone: here a little girl from Israel is called to the greatest of vocations, that of even being Mother of God. A member of a people oppressed by the Romans, a person of humble social conditions, and moreover a woman, marginalized in the culture of the time. None of us can exempt ourselves from being a called of God by citing our cultural, social weakness, poor health, advanced age.

Vocation is not a burden, a heavy or barbarous duty. It is a source of joy: “Rallégrati (kàire), full of grace” (Lk. 1:28). Those who follow the Lord’s call “will already have in the present a hundred times as much…, and in the future eternal life” (Mk 10:30).

And there is no need to have any fear, for we will always be accompanied by the Lord: “The Lord is with you… Do not be afraid!” (Lk 1:28, 30). And the Holy Spirit will cover us with his shadow and power” (Lk 1:35), and make us do things that would seem impossible to us: “Nothing is impossible to God!” (Lk 1:37)

And our mission will always be that of Mary: “to give birth to Jesus” (Lk 1:31). We must bring Jesus to the world. We must tell everyone that he has conquered us and given meaning to our lives, to our being born and dying, to our joys and sufferings, that he has brought us God’s forgiveness and given us his Kingdom. We must sing to the world the joy of God, proclaim to all peoples the Gospel, the “Joyful News.” Said Pope Francis: “The common mission of all of us Christians is to witness with joy, in every situation, with attitudes and words, what we experience by being with Jesus and in his community which is the Church. And it translates into works of material and spiritual mercy, into a lifestyle that is welcoming and mild, capable of closeness, compassion and tenderness, counter-current to the culture of discarding and indifference.”

Each one of us, like Mary, is to be a “slave (dùle) of IHWH” (Lk. 1:38), in a continuous dimension of service to the Lord.

Pope Francis further affirms, “In the Church, we are all servants and servant women, according to different vocations, charisms and ministries,” he adds. The vocation to self-giving in love, common to all, unfolds and becomes concrete in the lives of lay Christians, committed to building the family as a small “domestic church” and to renewing the various environments of society with the leaven of the Gospel; in the witness of consecrated men and women, all given to God for their brothers and sisters as a prophecy of the Kingdom of God; in the ordained ministers (deacons, presbyters, bishops) placed at the service of the Word, prayer and communion of God’s holy people.”

And we will have to respond in joy to the call, “Let it be (“gnoito”) of me” (Lk 1:38), is an octative, a tense that in Greek expresses desire, enthusiastic adherence.

At the basis of everything, there will be living “according to your Word,” “katà to rèma tu” (Lk 1:38), putting only the Word of God as the foundation of everything. “In the journey of accepting the Word of God, we are accompanied by the Mother of the Lord, recognized as blessed because she believed in the fulfillment of what the Lord had told her (cf. Lk 1:45). Mary’s beatitude precedes all the beatitudes pronounced by Jesus for the poor, the afflicted, the meek, the peacemakers and those who are persecuted, because it is the necessary condition for any other beatitude. No poor person is blessed because he is poor; he becomes so if, like Mary, he believes in the fulfillment of God’s Word. This is recalled by a great disciple and teacher of Sacred Scripture, St. Augustine: “Someone in the midst of the crowd, particularly overcome with enthusiasm, exclaimed, ‘Blessed is the bosom that bore you.’ And he: ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God, and keep it.'” As if to say: even my mother, whom you call blessed, is blessed precisely because she guards the word of God, not because in her the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, but because she guards the very Word of God through whom she was made, and who in her was made flesh’ (On the Gospel of Jn. 10:3)” (Pope Francis, Aperuit illis, no. 15).

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


Spazio Spadoni

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