Joy & mercy in the gift of life

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, 08 December 2022
Genesis 3:9-15, 20 ><}}}*> Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12 ><}}}*> Luke 1:26-38
Photo by Rev. Fr. Gerry Pascual at Palazzo Borromeo, Isola Bella, Stresa, Italia 2019.

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, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”

Luke 1:26-28
Praise and glory to you, God our Father
for the gift of life, for the gift of salvation
in Jesus Christ through Mary's Immaculate Conception!
Every joy in the gift of life,
in the gift of every person
is also a gift of your great mercy:
wherever there is life,
there is joy,
there is grace,
there is mercy.
How lovely to keep in mind
that "joy" in Hebrew is "raham, rahamin" -
the same word for "womb" that is why
in describing "joy" to his disciples on the night
before he was arrested, Jesus used the
image of a woman in the pangs of childbirth:
"When a woman is in labor,
she is in anguish because her hour 
has arrived; but when she has given birth
to a child, she no longer remembers the pain
because of her joy that a child has been
into the world" (John 16:21).
So many people are sick at this very moment,
some are awaiting death, some are alone;
many people are hungry, barely surviving
in life every day amid the world's waste
of food and water;
many children are dying too without even
seeing the light because they are seen as
burdens to one's dreams and goals,
thinking only of themselves,
of their rights,
of their body.
On this day as we celebrate
the beginning of the coming of Jesus to us
in the Immaculate Conception of his Mother,
remind us anew that every life is from you,
O God:  what must prevail is your will,
your beautiful plans, not ours;
teach us to trust you like Mary.
Loving Father, make our joy complete
in your Son Jesus Christ;
make us realize and experience
the many spiritual blessings you have
bestowed on us in Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:3);
let us take a rest today,
rest in the real sense like Sabbath
when we return to you in Paradise
obedient not like Adam and Eve; 
most of all, may we recall in the story of Dimas,
we enter Paradise on the Cross with Jesus when 
amid all pains and sufferings,
like the Blessed Mother Mary staying behind,
we may firmly say to you, 
"I am your servant, O Lord.
Be it done unto me
according to your word."
Amen.
Photo by author, 07 December 2022.

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