THE SUNDAY MESSENGER
August 23, 2020
Second Sunday of Assumption
Collaboration in God’s Divine Plan
Mary knew the Psalms and the writings of the Prophets which spoke of hope, mercy, revolution, and ultimately promised a Messiah who would bring deliverance and redemption to his people. Essentially, this is what Mary is singing about in the song popularly known as the “Magnificat” or in Armenian “Մեծացուսցէ” which means “magnify,” taken from the first line of the song.
Among many other motifs, the Virgin Mary recalls how the prophets foretold and God had promised that all nations would be blessed through Abraham. She sings,
He has helped his servant Israel,in remembrance of his mercy,as he spoke to our fathers,to Abraham and to his posterity forever.
From her song, we are reminded that Mary is not just a Virgin who gave birth to the Son of God; she is also blessed by all generations, an echo of the word to Abraham (Abram), “By you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves,” (Genesis 12:3) which is fulfilled in the offspring of Mary. Through Mary, God has fulfilled his promise to Israel, to deliver his people from oppression and bring both Jew and Gentile together, uniting them in his Son, Jesus Christ, the faithful Israelite who assumed flesh from the race of Abraham, the Messiah who would bless and unite all nations.
I will indeed bless you, and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore. And your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:17-18)
By remembering Joachim and Anna, the parents of the Virgin Mary, and the joy that Mary expressed when she learned she would be carrying the Son of God in her womb, the Armenian Church reminds us not only of God’s plan to bring forth the Messiah, but that we are a part of it. What we should not fail to notice is that God, in his divine plan partnered with Mary, another human being. By reading the Մեծացուսցէ, we are reminded of the heredity of our salvation – her parents, and the generations of all those who went before her – the tree of human history that brought forth God’s divine plan of salvation to heal the world, and all those who follow her, those born of the baptismal font in the name of the Holy Trinity. Just as God included Mary, God includes us, so that through us we bring healing to the world. Like Mary, the Bearer of God, we also are bearers of God.
As we find numerous times throughout the Scriptures, God relies on the collaboration of human beings to bring about his divine will. The same collaboration even takes place when we celebrate Badarak! During Badarak, the bread and wine are offered as gifts to God on behalf of the people. Like the gifts of the bread and wine, we too offer ourselves as gifts to God, as disciples for doing his will and work in the world. In essence, as a community we bring to God our most basic needs, offering our whole life, and ask him to take us, change us, and give himself back to us as his own Body and Blood for forgiveness, healing, and salvation. So Badarak is not only about God’s plan to share himself with us, but also about changing us into the people God wants us to be, the Body of Christ, nourished to carry out the mission of the Church. Mary as Աստուածածին, as Birth-Giver of God, has a direct, meaningful connection as to why we belong to the Church and participate in Badarak.
The seed of Abraham does not refer only to the physical lineage of Abraham, but as the father of all nations, it refers to the people of God, the Church, a community in which our lives are joined by our one baptism in Christ, all of us ministers, baptized for his work. God’s partnering with humanity is not because he needs us for his divine plan to work, rather he chooses to include us. Why? Simply because he loves us! He created us for this very purpose. This means that each of us as individuals and collectively as the Church are a part of his plan of salvation, a direct link in the chain chosen by God for his purposes. The mission of the Church is not about satisfying our personal agendas or even the agenda of a single parish community, but all together we make up the Body of Christ.
So you see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are men of faith are blessed with Abraham who had faith. (Galatians 3:7-9)
As a parish, as individuals on a daily basis, do we celebrate our salvation lineage? Do our souls magnify the Lord? Are we just as joyful as the Mother of God in her song of praise knowing that God also chose us to be a part of his divine plan? As fellow workers with God (see I Corinthians 3:9), do we sing and participate in Badarak as if we are collaborating and truly cooperating with God? Or are we counting down the minutes to the final blessing and dismissal? Do we only seek to get from God, but lazily contribute to his mission, refraining from or minimally playing our part in the common work of ministry? Ask the Mother of God to intercede for us to live as people of faith, to embody the Gospel as sons and daughters of Abraham, because through Jesus Christ our Savior, we are blessed!
By Dn. Eric Vozzy
TODAY’S BIBLE READINGS:
2Corinthians 6: 16-7:1 (page 166) New Testament
Luke 1: 39-56 (pages 51-52) New Testament – (Please follow the Armenian Reading in your Bible)
Proverbs 11:30-12:4 (page 583) Old Testament
Zechariah 2:10-13 (page 922) Old Testament
“LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night….” (Nehemiah 1:5-6). Prayers are requested for Ethel Terzian, Taron Poghosyan, Alice Charles & Theodora Mirakian.
FAR UPDATE: Ayo! Distributes PPE to Medical Centers in Kotayk Province
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a troubling gap in Armenia’s healthcare system due to the short supply of much needed medical equipment. However, Ayo! has been working constantly to deliver much-needed medical supplies to hospitals and clinics in different regions of the country. Most recently, it provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to 26 medical centers in Armenia’s Kotayk Province.This is the first time the project conducted a distribution in Kotayk. Ayo! previously distributed PPE in Vayots Dzor and Ararat provinces. The PPEs, which include masks, gloves, medical gowns and suits, shoe covers and thermometers will help keep healthcare staff on the frontlines safe and healthy. To read more on FAR’s blog, go to: https://www.farusa.org/post/ayo-distributes-ppes-to-medical-centers-in-kotayk-province To support FAR’s Healthcare Program, go to www.farusa.org/donate
Additional Grape Donations
*In memory of Diran Shakarjian by Stephen and Nancy Hovnanian
*For a Special Thanksgiving by Ms. Angel Tookmanian
*In memory of Karlen Kocharian by Richard Kocharian
*In memory of the Injaian and Torigian Families by Harry and Mary Injaian
*In memory of Mike & Rose Karabian, Florence Dandegian, Helen Vishab, Ruth DeStefano &
Ann Halchak by Ms. Alice Karabian
* David Bozadjian & Hasmik Kolandjian
*In memory of Diran Shakarjian by Zevart Shakarjian
*In memory of Damerjian Families by Robert and Lorraine Damerjian
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Remember to wear your mask and keep social distance from everyone.