Fr. John Eudes Bamberger, OCSO
Annunciation of Our Lord
3rd Saturday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 7:10-14, 9-10; Hebrews 10:4-10; Luke 1:26-38
Since we say the Angelus prayer three times each day the mystery of the Lord’s Conception and the Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to Mary are among the most familiar events in Scripture for each of us. On this Feast Day of the event, however, the first reading and the Gospel we have just listened to fills out the context in which the mystery takes place. The text from Isaiah the prophet is remarkable for us in that it has two levels of meaning. The virgin Isaiah had in mind seems to have been one known to the king. But modern exegetes can only speculate as to the person is w whom Isaiah has in mind. Saint Matthew, however, in his account of the Annunciation to Joseph has no doubt that the ultimate meaning of this prophecy is as a definite prediction of the Virginal birth of Christ . Adding to the mystery is the fact that he refers to our Lord as Emmanuel, not as Jesus. From the beginning to encounter the Incarnate Word of God is to enter the world of mystery that calls for trust and faith.
The words of the Epistle to the Hebrews culminate in the assertion that Christ is the fulfillment of the first covenant which was inadequate to satisfy the human heart and its desires. And so the unknown author asserts boldly that Christ “takes away the first to establish the second.” He goes on to explain just what this statement implies: “By this will we have been consecrated through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Luke’s version o the conception of Jesus is so familiar to us through our daily recital of the Angelus that we could readily feel today’s Gospel needs no commentary. However, experience provides a very different view. We say the Angelus three times a day, yet each day and each time there is a kind of transcendent sense that makes each instance o fresh contact with the mystery of Christ’s as sharing our humanity. A vow of stability entails that we spend many years together day by day dealing with the same persons. Yet there is some shade of difference in each encounter, though often no exchange of words take place.
The Lord whom we encounter at each angelus meets us in a way that somehow partakes of another world. For the faith and hope, and desire for God that is love invariably conveys a measure of fresh life. However obscure, even when not adverted to, the Divine presence is every new, never absent. The Same Lord who was conceived by Mary of the Holy Spirit so many centuries ago, remains present to us by our faith and loving trust as He is here among us now in this Eucharist. May we always so live as to make Him welcome until the day we meet him face to face.
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