For Saturday of the Twenty-Seventh Ordinary Week of the Church Year
The words of the Gospel are human words serving as the instruments for God’s Word and salvation that he gives us in Christ.
What word of salvation does the holy Gospel according to Luke give us today?
Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.
There is no doubt in the mind of St. Luke that Mary the mother of Jesus was a blessed hearer and keeper of the word of God.
St. Luke tells us that Gabriel— an angel, a “word-bearer” of the Lord— was sent by God to Nazareth in Galilee to speak to Mary the words of God.
God’s angelic word-bearer Gabriel pronounces the godly blessing.
I greet you,
The Lord is with you.
you have found favor with God.
That is the essence of all blessings— that was the greatest of all blessings: to have favor with God.
That is a definitive word of salvation.
Mary was the first one in the Gospels and in all Christian history upon whom the word of salvation was pronounced: YOU HAVE FOUND FAVOR WITH GOD.
You have found favor with God.
You will conceive and bear a son.
The Holy Spirit will overshadow you.
Therefore the child will be the Son of God.
What was Mary’s answer to this word of God?
I am the slave of the Lord.
Let it be to me according to your word.
She is a hearer and a keeper of the word of God.
Blessed is she who heard the word of God and kept it.
The Gospel testimony to Mary does not stop there.
It tells us that the Holy Spirit whose shadow has enlightened the Mother of God now rushes upon her kinswoman Elizabeth.
Using Elizabeth’s voice, GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT calls out to Mary.
Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
Blessed is she who believed in the fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord!
Those are the words of God the Holy Spirit, not the words of the nameless woman in the crowd of today’s Gospel.
The words of God the Holy Spirit!
Blessed is Mary who heard the word of God and kept it.
That is Gospel truth.
The Word of the Lord concerning Mary’s faithful obedience was still not over.
After the Lord ascended into heaven, his disciples obediently awaited the coming of the Holy Spirit, and with one accord devoted themselves to prayer together with Mary the Mother of Jesus—Mary the one person who had already been overshadowed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Mary, woman of the Spirit, Mary in the midst of the praying Church calls down the Spirit upon the disciples of her Son.
Mary’s history and faith are a sign of hope for us.
The Scriptural history of Mary shows what happens when a human person willingly receives God’s word and keeps it.
The Scriptural history of Mary shows that, when a human person gives her own word to God and keeps God’s Word, the Spirit comes to us, then the Son of God and his Body, the Church and the Eucharist come into the world as God’s saving work.
In the Eucharist the Son of God comes to us in person, in flesh and blood, in the power of the Spirit, offering each of US exactly what the angel said of Mary.
HAIL, O FAVORED ONE!
THE LORD IS WITH YOU.
YOU HAVE FOUND FAVOR WITH GOD.
Through the Eucharist, the Lord bestows favor and blessing on us by nursing us with his blood and bearing us in his body.
His blessing, however, is also a command.
DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME.
HEAR MY WORDS AND KEEP THEM.
BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HEAR THE WORD OF GOD AND KEEP IT.