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 grace and the fear is given to Mary at a single breath. Putting all the confidence in the Lord, Mary has chosen to remove the genuine fear evoked by human anxiety, and allowed herself to be animated by the Holy Spirit in faith.
Though the message is clear, the details are awaited. Mary has learned from the salvation history, how Abraham, Moses and David have waited patiently for the details and the absence of these details didn’t become a huddle to trust the Lord. In the same tradition, Mary becomes the first human being that God has chosen to make His home. In her, God has accorded the same grace of welcoming Him in our hearts too.
The human curiosity is sincerely honoured by the Lord, by giving her another sign in her relative Elizabeth. This sign is given so that Elizabeth be grace by the presence of the Mother of God. Mary will do exactly what God has desired. It is here many follows the tradition of great prophets, who surrendered their freedom to the divine will.
The message is communicated, the Lord has make her His home, and the angel disappears from here, only to be animated by the Holy Spirit. In Mary we find the Trinity in action and it is just that she responds to this invitation, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said» How many of have the same courage to take such risk in our life for the accomplishment of the will of God?
«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.