The Solemnity of the Annunciation
( Isaiah 7: 10 -14; 8:10; Resp 40; Hebrews 10: 4 – 10; Luke 1: 26 – 38)
In praying the Creed we call to mind the great and incomprehensible mystery of the Incarnation: “…He came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.” As we pray this today, we are especially mindful that it was on this day that the Son of God became one of us in the womb of Mary of Nazareth. We also know that a lifetime of reﬂection and even an eternity of wonder will never exhaust the depth, the height, the extent of this divine mystery: the Son of God, eternal, Inﬁnite, one with the Father entered completely into human life – like us in all things but sin.
It took but a brief moment during an awesome conversation between an angel, Gabriel, and a young virgin, Mary of Nazareth; their conversation which we know by heart changed the course of the world – changed our lives. Gabriel invited and assured her so that Mary was willing and able to declare, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word!” And so, overshadowed by the Spirit, Mary became a mother yet remained a virgin and the Promised of the Ages became a man for our sake – we need to underline heavily that phrase “for our sake”.
There is in this encounter a great and awesome surrender – the Son of God surrendered His very person to Mary and Mary surrendered her whole life to the life of the Messiah – whatever she had planned to do, she handed over her life to the will of God. Therefore, today’s celebration is extremely unique
– before us, in our listening, in our believing we are graced with the mystery of divine and human surrender We acknowledged this in the responsorial antiphon “Here am I, Lord: I come to do your will.”
In celebrating this Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord we are not just acknowledging a most sacred event, rather we are here as participants; men and women caught up and into this encounter, into the Word becoming ﬂesh. To truly celebrate in faith, for us, means to surrender to God as Mary did; it means living in such a way that we are truly in Christ and He in us.
We know and believe in the Incarnation of the Son of God; we rejoice in His Real Presence in our Church. His becoming ﬂesh for our sake is a truth of our faith and we hold it as most sacred. Yet, each one of us, as part of our journey of faith, must ask a very personal question: What does this mystery of the Incarnation mean for me as a Catholic? What does “The Word-becoming ﬂesh,” say to my heart in the uniqueness of my life?
How each one answers does make a difference, even a great difference – perhaps all the difference in the world. It might reveal: that with strong belief I am truly participating in, living in this Mystery, or that I am merely pious spectator or just a curious listener! Do I dare ask the question?