Third Sunday in Advent
by Fr. Ivan Olmo

The angel Gabriel came to Mary and said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you: Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” Have you found favor with God? A profound yet wonderfully challenging question to consider this Advent Season. But before you attempt to answer the question, like Mary, let us take some time to ponder the question in our heart, then take it to prayer. Let us give it some serious thought for a moment then, thoroughly take it to contemplation. First, let us consider who God is, who we are and what is the difference. God is God and we are not. God is Creator and we are his creation. God, our God, is the Creator of heaven and earth, Creator of the sun and moon, Creator of the planets and stars, Creator of time and space, Creator of the universe and galaxies and everything contained in them. God, our God, is complete, perfect, pure, infinite; without need, unchangeable, the first cause of existence. God, our God, the same God who did not need us, never needed us, still doesn’t need us, will never need us; still chose to create us in the beauty of his image and likeness, not out of necessity but simply out of love.  Even when we disobeyed him and were banished from Eden, he still showed great love to us by covering our shame with his tender love and mercy. Even when we said we will never sin again and gave our attention and hearts to lifeless idols, God still pardoned our sins and accepted our peace offerings. Even when we lied and rejected the law and commandments and bore false witness against his beloved Son, Jesus who innocently became mortal for us and suffered greatly for our sins, was severely punished for our offenses and died a painful, shameful death because of our iniquities; God still loved us, desired us and forgave us.  Even more amazing is that God still loves us, still desires us and will forgive us time and time again if we but say we are sorry from our hearts. We have definitely found favor with God. Never be afraid to say it. We are the apple of his eye. When you come into the house of God and into his sacred presence, like Mary, do not be afraid to cry out, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.”

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