In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. He was sent to a young virgin who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. The angel came to her and said, «Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you». Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean. But the angel said, «Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a son and you shall call him Jesus. He will be great and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the kingdom of David, his ancestor; he will rule over the people of Jacob forever and his reign shall have no end».
Then Mary said to the angel, «How can this be if 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 holy child to be born shall be called Son of God. Even your relative Elizabeth is expecting a son in her old age, although she was unable to have a child, and she is now in her sixth month. With God nothing is impossible». Then Mary said, «I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said». And the angel left her.
The feast of the Annunciation is in fact a feast for the people of good will, particularly to those who long to see the Lord and His marvellous work. It is the visible sign of God’s direct intervention in to our own human history. Such intervention is always a beginning of a new history, which taken a new direction, as willed by the Lord.
However, no one was aware about the immense importance of this great beginning, which begun in a simple way, in an isolated place, fully guarded and graced by God. It is important that we realise the way God works in our life and try to understand in every human encounter the way God is moving the events, for the salvation of the humanity.
Mary’s certitude of God and God’s way of functioning, made her feel the fear of consequences, particularly the risks involved. God gives her the signs and support, so that she could accomplish this mission in courage and freedom. We should never hesitate to undertake the divine mission, for the Lord will accompany us very closely.
Our total surrender is not a fruit of ignorance, but the fruit of certitude of divine support. In His goodness, we will be nourished and guided. Mary will continue this work in her, not in doubt but with certitude. She will certainly sing, “What a marvellous work the Lord has done for me!” Our total surrender to the divine will make us too to identify such wonderful things happening around us and will make us participative in the hymn of Mary.
Have a wonderful day.
«Rejoice, full of grace»
Fr, Johannes VILAR
Today, in «Rejoice, full of grace» (Lk 1:28) for the first time we hear the name of the Mother of God: Mary (Archangel Gabriel’s second phrase). She has the fullness of grace and the gifts. It is said like this: "keharitoméne", «full of grace» (Angel’s greeting).
Perhaps 15 years old and alone, Mary has to answer in a way that will change the full history of mankind. Saint Bernard pleaded: «Behold, the price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life». God is awaiting an uninhibited response, and the "full of grace", representing all of us needing Redemption, responds: "génoitó", become! As of today, Mary is freely linked to the Work of her Son; today her Mediation begins. As of today, she is the Mother of those who are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28).
Benedict XVI was saying in an interview: «[I would like] to reawake the courage to make definitive decisions: they are really the only ones that allow us to grow, to move ahead and to reach something great in life. They are the only decisions that do not destroy our freedom but offer to point us in the right direction. Risk making this leap, so to speak, towards the definitive and so embrace life fully: this is something I would be happy to communicate to them». Mary: behold an example!
And Saint Joseph is also included in God’s plans: he has to accept taking Mary as his wife and name her son (cf. Mt 1:20s): Jesua, "the Lord saves". And He does it. Another example!
The Annunciation also reveals the Trinity: The Father sends the Son, incarnated by the Holy Spirit. And the Church sings: «And the Word becomes flesh today and makes his dwelling among us». His redeeming work —Christmas, Good Friday, Easter— is present in this seed. He is Immanuel, «God with us» (cf. Is 7:15). Rejoice Humanity!
The festivities of Saint Joseph and the Annunciation prepare us excellently to celebrate the Paschal Mystery.