Mass Readings 20th December and Reflections

 Mass Readings for today Monday 20th December are here

The gospel relates the visitation of  Gabriel to Mary.

Typically, when thinking of the Annunciation, it was Mary who said" How can this be ?" But it's not just Mary who was surprised. Even the angels were taken aback by God's request.

Earlier in Advent I posted on this theme  from here which was a video by Fr. James Martin S.J.where  he enlarged on the theme of angelic surprise in a meditation on the Annunciation, The God of Suprises  and a couple of beautiful works of art from the Basilica of San Marco in Venice, Italy originally appeared on the website of America Magazine, the national Catholic weekly.

Frederick Buechner has also remarked on the trepidation of Gabriel below :
"She struck the angel Gabriel as hardly old enough to have a child at all, let alone this child, but he'd been entrusted with a message to give her, and he gave it. 
He told her what the child was to be named, and who he was to be, and something about the mystery that was to come upon her. "You mustn't be afraid, Mary," he said.

As he said it, he only hoped she wouldn't notice that beneath the great, golden wings he himself was trembling with fear to think that the whole future of creation hung now on the answ
er of a girl."

Archangel Gabriel has a remarkable position as one of the few cultural figures who plays an important role in more than one major religion. 

He is referred to in the Old Testament as appearing to Daniel.

In Christian tradition he appears to the Virgin and to Zachariah. 

In Islamic tradition he is renowned for dictating the Holy Koran to the Prophet Mohammed. 

The frequent references to Gabriel in literature and art mean more than any other Gabriel defines most people's idea of what an angel is.
In particular the potent image of Angel Gabriel announcing the impending birth of the Messiah to Mary has inspired generations of artists in the process creating one of the most iconic images of Western culture. 

In this blog the author has brought together a collection of links and information about the  Archangel Gabriel through the centuries.

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