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Luke 1:26-38 - "Am I Not Here?"

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." 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.

Mary told Juan Diego: “Am I not here, I, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy?” How fresh, how authentic, how reassuring! Has this heart-moving scene on the Tepeyac anything to do with that other famous encounter with which the liturgy presents us today between Mary and the angel? It certainly does, for the beautiful lady which appeared to the young Indian five hundred years ago could only call herself his mother because she became Mother of the Son of God two thousand years ago.

In this sense, Mary’s relation to others relies on her - prior - relationship to God. This logic applies also to the Church (of which Mary is the most perfect image): The Church is what she is because of her identification with Christ. Even more generically we can say that all Christian things are Christian only to the extent of an actual and vivid relationship with Christ.

We can only serve as Apostles, therefore, if we live in Christ and identify with Him. On the contrary, Christian attributes become downright ridiculous if you cut off the prior and fundamental relationship to God. The freshness of Mary’s “Am I not your Mother?” is so authentic because it is filled and empowered by Her unswerving connection to Her Son. Our authentic Christian identity needs just that: an unflappable connection with Christ.

Mary, when the Divine Word was conceived in your womb, you became Mother of God. Nothing could ever separate you from your Son. You are a mother to me because you are His mother. The former will never falter because the latter is most true. Lead me to the Almighty so that my relationship with Him may determine my relationship to everyone else. Educate me as your child, teach me to solidify my love to God - nothing will make me stronger than that. Nothing will better enable us to relate well to the world than relating to God.

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