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Feast of the Annunciation
Isaiah 7:10-15
St. Luke 1:26-38

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be always acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

  1. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary, and she conceived of the Holy Ghost.
  2. Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, Be it done unto me according to Thy word.
  3. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

These are the three meditations of the Angelus, a prayer which by pious practice has been recited three times a day for millennia.  It serves as a continual reminder of a central mystery of our Christian faith and of the model response to God’s will.  A reminder that Jesus, the human face of God and the divine face of man, came to dwell among us that we might live eternally with Him.

As we read the Gospel this morning we see the very beginning of the Church, the very moment that the Word becomes flesh.  Christ, the One, Holy, Head of the Church becomes flesh in a fleshy tabernacle chosen by God.  The greatest honor ever put on any individual of our fallen race was bestowed upon Mary.  God humbled himself to be called her offspring!  In Mary the promise of the ages was fulfilled; in her the destinies of the world were to be reversed; in her was the heel which would bruise the great serpent’s head; in her was the foundation of the Church. It is proper that today we incline the ear of our hearts to these words as we consider our call as a Church .  For Mary provides the holy example; she is the model of how to bring Christ to the world. And how does Mary participate in such an important mystery?  Let us recall Mary’s response to the Angelic Greeting.

The angel says to Mary:  Hail, thou full of grace; the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women.  And how does Mary first respond?   She was troubled – Mary doesn’t have her “Here I am, Lord” moment right off the bat.  Her humility prompts a mere “Who me?”   And what of the Church, the bride of Christ – how do you respond to Christ’s presence here?  Can we admit to being troubled?  After all who are we that we should bear the burden of witnessing to Christ ? 

The angel reassures Mary: Fear not! for thou hast found favor with God.   Behold thou shalt conceive a Son.  Mary is no longer troubled – now she is now confused.  How can this be ?  What a very human response. How often and how easily do we forget that for God nothing is impossible?  Far too often it seems that our task is too difficult, that the world is too entrenched in its ways, that the Gospel is too hard to live.  And yet Mary is proof that God is the author of our destinies, destines we could never conceive of, let alone choose – it is God who makes the way.

And Mary does the heroic – she lays aside all of her troubles, all of her doubts, all of her fears.  Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word.  Without so much as a thought of the future, or of what people might say, or of how she will care for God, she cleaves herself to the will of the Father.  She makes a complete act of faith, relying utterly on God’s loving Providence.  What a model for us today.  Here enveloped in the presence of Christ, for he promises his presence wherever two or three are gathered in His name, we are offered a similar choice.  May we remain mindful of Mary’s loving example.

Let us pray:
Pour forth we beseech thee, O Lord, thy grace into our hearts, and grant to us thy humble servants the wisdom to discern your will.  That we to whom the Incarnation of Christ thy Son was made known by the message of an angel.  May by his passion and cross be brought to the glory of his resurrection, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen

Stephen Rugg
Feast of the Annunciation, 2010

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