March 25th 2020
The feast of the Annunciation, now recognized as a solemnity, was first celebrated in the fourth or fifth century. Its central focus is the Incarnation: God has become one of us. From all eternity God had decided that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity should become human. Now, as Luke 1:26-38 tells us, the decision is being realized and Mary had an important role to play in this plan, God’s plan. From all eternity, God destined her to be the mother of Jesus and closely related to him in the creation and redemption of the world. Mary is the virgin-mother who fulfils Isaiah 7:14 in a way that Isaiah could not have imagined. She is united with her son in carrying out the will of God (Psalm 40:8-9; Hebrews 10:7-9; Luke 1:38). She received into her lowliness the infinite love of God. She shows how an ordinary human being can reflect God in the ordinary circumstances of life. She exemplifies what the Church and every member of the Church are meant to become.
The encounter between the Angel Gabriel and the Blessed Virgin Mary changed human history forever. It provides the setting for the Incarnation, when “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14). The sheer profundity of this meeting taxes superlatives both concerning the remarkable circumstances in which the event took place, its seminal significance, and what it meant for human history. Mary was a young Israelite girl, living in the seemingly obscure, small town of Nazareth. These humble circumstances befit the immeasurably humble act of God becoming a man.
The feast of the annunciation is a test of the will. She passed that test. The full message for today’s feast is that Mary said “yes” to God through the Angel Gabriel (the messenger) even when she did not know exactly the full implication of what she was asked to do and what she was accenting to. What if she had said “no”? Her “yes” made the whole difference in salvation history. She lived in the dark midst of faith and was very consistent about her faith in times of trials and temptations. She a woman of great faith and total submission to God. We are called to faith such as Mary’s at all times but especially at this time when coronavirus is rampaging across the nations of the world, ravaging lives, and bringing unprecedented pain and chaos to our beautiful world. Today’s liturgy calls us to resilient faith and positive attitude towards life like our blessed Virgin Mary had facing her many tribulations, trials and temptations.
Let us pray, “You heard the annunciation, Blessed Virgin Mary, that you would conceive and bear a son. The Angel waited for your response. We too, in this troubled time, in this time of unprecedented health crisis cry out to you for help. We await your response, we live in hope of hearing a word of mercy from you. The cost of our salvation is in your hands. If you say yes, we will be set free because you are the consolation of the sorrowful, the liberation of all, the redemption of all peoples, your lineage, depends on your response. Open your heart to faith, your mouth to consent, and your chaste body to the Creator, God almighty.
Let us celebrate Our Lady’s role in our salvation and entrust ourselves to her peerless intercession, today and always.