Saturday, December 12, 2020
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Excerpt from Today’s Reading:
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you...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.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
(Luke 1)

Today’s Gospel Reading is a familiar one: the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary announcing that she would conceive and become mother to Jesus. It’s especially familiar because it is the same Gospel Reading from the Feast Day of the Immaculate conception, the Holy Day of Obligation just four days ago. Is this the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ subtle way of saying ICYMI (“in case you missed it”)? Check my YouTube history: I promise that I watched the stream of the Holy Day mass at St. Paul's (between some festive holiday tunes)! It’s more probable that this Gospel repeats within the week because multiple reflections on this reading might offer multiple lessons from the Good News. And because Mary’s courage and trust in God are worth a second read.

In this Gospel, Mary is presented with what seems to be an unfavorable position. As an engaged virgin, Mary’s pregnancy would have been a public disgrace — one that was subject to harsh punishment. Mary is afraid, but courageously accepts God’s call saying, “May it be done to me according to your word.” For LGBTQ people, a personal reflection on this Gospel passage might bring us back to the fear we had when God first revealed that God's plan for us included an LGBTQ identity. Whether you accepted the LGBTQ aspect of God’s plan immediately, it took you some time, or you are still in the process of fully accepting it, let us channel Mary’s model of courage, love, and trust as God continues to reveal Godself to us. 

Today, we also celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which commemorates the 1531 Marian apparition in Mexico. Often called “la Vírgen Morena” (or the dark-skinned Virgin), Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to an indigenous peasant as a brown-skinned woman that resembled an Aztec princess and spoke the native language Nahuatl. Our Lady asks the indigenous peasant to have the bishop build a place of worship on the site of her appearance, so that she would have a place to hear petitions and to heal the suffering of the people. La Vírgen Morena’s appearance to the indigenous peasant is a reminder that Mary and God love and accept all peoples. We are called to do the same.

Victor B.

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Out at St. Paul (OSP) is the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Trans ministry of our parish, The Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York City. We seek to engage our Catholic faith through service to our community, social activities, and the exploration of Catholic spirituality.