The Gospel according to Luke (1:26-38)
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “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. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “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 called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Opening Prayer: Lord on this beautiful feast day, help me to grow in my love for Mother Mary as I reflect on her “fiat.”
Encountering Christ: As I look outside, I see the snow gentling falling. Inside I smell eggnog and hear Christmas carols in the background. Wait!! It’s not Christmas! Then why this particular Gospel passage recounting the good, no best news of the coming of our Savior in the form of a babe. I am no Scripture Scholar, but beside the Solemnity of the Annunciation, this may be a good time to pause from the heaviness of our Lenten journey consisting of repentance, remorse, and reconciliation. Let us remember that our pilgrimage to Easter is not possible without the cooperation of a poor little peasant girl who despite her fear and confusion trusted God and said yes to his divine plan to save us all.
This profound act of faith known to us all as Mary’s “Fiat” made it possible for the greatest revelation of our God in the form of his incarnation into our human nature and condition. Without Mary’s yes and the birth of Jesus there would be no possibility for our salvation from sin. It would seem that the greatest event in all of human history would garner a much bigger and significant response. Yet the creator of all things made his way to us in the most humble and unassuming means possible.
So, let us not only remember but celebrate this day, in the midst of our spiritual marathon, our faith tune-up, and revel in the joy of greatest announcement delivered to the only human who was full of grace. She carried the Good News for nine months, all the while wondering, pondering what was to come. She gave birth to Emmanuel, fed, clothed, and nurtured the man who would one day reveal his divinity and lead all of humanity to salvation through several years of teaching, healing, and modeling a life in grace. Then, when the time had come, he suffered, died, was buried and rose from the dead to bring to a conclusion the purpose for his coming.
You and I are the beneficiaries of a love so great that he could not stay away. He came, to be with us, to be one of us so that he could show us how deep his love and commitment really was. And, with this reminder of the greatest love story ever, we can return to our Lenten journey with a renewed hope and confidence in who we are, his beloved children who have the gift of life and love with him because he spared nothing to make this possible.
Closing Prayer: Dear Lord, may we accept the grace you give us every day to say yes to your invitation to be a part of your divine family of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. May we also be grateful to our Mother Mary, and all of the angels and saints who intercede for us in more ways than we can imagine.
Action for the Day: Look for a place in your Lenten commitments or promises that needs a little boost. In your prayer remember the reason for the season and move through the obstacles, with the grace of God and make the changes necessary to move toward God’s loving arms with you solid “YES”!