_“Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)*_
In our first reading today, we are reminded of how Isaiah delivered a great sign to king Ahaz who was so frightened upon hearing the news of impending disaster. Ahaz and all the people of the kingdom needed to hear the name Emmanuel and reassure themselves of God’s presence with them. They needed to know that their safety and protection do not lie in weapons of war but in the fact that God is with them.
In our Gospel passage, we see a direct fulfilment of the sign that God had given to king Ahaz hundreds of years earlier. The Angel Gabriel was sent by God to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph and the virgin’s name was Mary. Mary is that virgin which Isaiah spoke about and she is going to be the one to conceive and give birth to this child whose name is Emmanuel.
However, instead of saying his name shall be Emmanuel in accord with Isaiah’s prophecy, the Angel Gabriel said to Mary: “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” In other words, Christ had two names: Emmanuel and Jesus. Isaiah revealed his first name which defines who He is – Emmanuel which means God with us. Angel Gabriel revealed his second name which defines the role He plays – Jesus which means Saviour of mankind.
Like Jesus Christ, we all have two names; one which appears on our certificates and one which defines who we are. Although the names we bear may vary, the kind of life we live must reflect our real identity – Christianity. People should not only call us Christians; they must also see Christ in us.
You may be wondering; how can I live like Christ when it is so hard to resist the temptation to sin? Even Mary wondered: “‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel said to her, “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 holy; he will be called Son of God.” (Luke 1:34-35)
Just as the Holy Spirit produced a child in Mary’s womb, He is capable of changing your story. The Holy Spirit can make you overcome sin and incarnate Christ in our world. Call on Him today. If He made Elizabeth conceive in old age, it is not too late for Him now. No matter how deep you have gone in sin, the Holy Spirit can still transform you.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, work in me as you worked in Mary that I may live out my Christian identity to the fullest. Through Christ our Lord. Amen..
Bible Study: Isaiah 7:10-14, Ps. 24:1-6, Luke 1:26-38)*
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu