The Annunciation of the Lord
Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you. (Luke 1:28)
Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10; Psalm 40:7-11; Hebrews 10:4-10;Luke 1:26-38
Imagine Mary sitting serenely on a crisp, clear evening. Although her marriage to Joseph is fast approaching, many medieval legends and paintings portray her as being absorbed in thoughts of God and not wrapped up in elaborate wedding plans. She is often depicted as contemplating a well-known Scripture verse: “The virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
Perhaps Mary echoed the prayer of many of her fellow Jews—a prayer for God to send his Messiah. Perhaps she even wished for the privilege of seeing this Messiah or sitting at his feet and learning from him. Whatever she was doing, she probably didn’t know that Isaiah’s prophecy foresaw her own virginal motherhood. She probably had no idea that in a few moments, history would change radically with the appearance of an angel. But there Gabriel was, inviting her not only to see the Messiah but to bear him in her womb!
Through Mary, we see the Father’s generosity. She offered her virginity; he gave her motherhood. She accepted an unconventional, taboo pregnancy; he made her mother of all believers. She wrapped herself in humility and lowliness; he exalted her above all creation. Her yes cancelled Eve’s no, and brought life once again to Eve’s offspring.
Today’s feast encourages us to thank God for the gift of our mother, Mary. It also encourages us to follow Mary’s example of faithfulness, prayer, and generosity of spirit. No matter how small our acts of prayer or service—from a simple but heartfelt Our Father to volunteering to wash the church linens—nothing escapes our Father’s eyes. Just as Mary’s yes overturned centuries of sin, our yes to God can unleash a tidal wave of grace in the lives of those around us. So as we honor Mary’s openness to the Lord, let’s follow in her footsteps and give ourselves to God as well. Let’s remember the angel’s promise that “nothing will be impossible for God” (Luke 1:37).
“Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to your word.” ~WAU