Genesis 3:9-15,20; Psalm 98:1,1,3-4; Ephesians 1:3-6,11-12; Luke 1:26-38
Saint John Baptist de la Salle/Saint Stephen December 8, 2022
The other day I read an article in America Magazine, titled, "Why does God hate me?" The author said that she typed this question into Google just to see what kind of answer would appear. The question, "Why does God hate me?" was number three on the list. So, I tried it too, I typed "Why does God hate me?" and a list comes up. However, when I started to read the answers, I found them to be a bit confusing. The short answer given to the question, "Does God hate me?" is no. God does not hate anyone. But number one on the list was the question, "Does God Love me?" and again the simple answer given to that question is, "Yes!" God does love us. But the people who gave answers to these questions were from all different religious backgrounds and the answers they gave were as varied as their denominations. For the fun of it, check it out on Google for yourself, but remember everything you read there is not always true. The same thing can be said about what you hear, so be careful.
Several years ago, on our annual priest retreat in Maggie Valley the retreat director asked us, "Who in the world does God love the most?" At first, I thought his question was a joke, or at least some kind of attempt to get us all thinking that God loves all people equality. But that was not true. His point was this, "God loves Mary, the mother of his Son, more than he loves anyone else that God ever created." After that answer I stopped listening to what he was saying, and I left feeling sad for him. Here is the answer he should have given: God loves us all and God loves us all equally. Yes, God loves us, not because of who we are or what we've done. God loves us because of who God is. In addition to God's love, God also favors us, or as we like to say God has graced us. God's grace, God's favoritism has been poured out upon people from the beginning of time, yet some people receive more of this grace than others.
"Hail Mary, full of grace! The Lord is with you. Yes, Mary was graced by God, and as we like to say, "was highly favored by God". As we rejoice with Mary, God's most favored one ("full of grace") on the feast of her conception, let us thank God for His love and mercy which embraces us right from the moment of our own conception. As Scripture says, "In love God destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus the Christ, in accord with the favor of God's will, for the praise of the glory of God's grace that God granted us in the beloved." Everything is gift, everything good in us is God's grace. For we all, children of God, are also favored ones and heirs of God's grace. Yet Mary remains the most favored one, the mother of all favored ones, the one that enjoys the fullness of grace.