Monday, April 9, 2018

The Feast of the Annunciation: Mary's "Yes"

In today's responsorial psalm we pray: "Here I  am, Lord, I come to do your will.  Sacrifice or oblation you wished not, but ears open to obedience you gave me.   Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not; then said I, 'Behold I come'."

Both Mary and Jesus model this kind of obedience.  Mary, an engaged teenager, and her fiancé Joseph are preparing for marriage when the angel Gabriel visits Mary. "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you" is how the angel greets her.  He then says to her, when it is obvious that she is shaken: "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and  you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end."  Mary could have said: "Oh, no thank you. Joseph and I have plans! Besides, I do not know man." But, no! She asks how this is to come about.  The angel says to her: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God." And, again, Mary could have responded:said: "Become pregnant through the Holy Spirit? You got to be kidding! Find someone else, Gabriel. Not me!"  The angel then tells her that her elderly cousin, way beyond childbearing years, has conceived a child and is in her sixth month, "for nothing is impossible  for God." Mary's response: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to  your word." And the angel left her.

Oh, my God. What now? Mary is pregnant out of wedlock and risks being stoned to death!  Solid in her faith, however, Mary says "yes" to letting God control her life. Will you and I let God do with us what He wills or are you and I taking things into your own hands, as did Adam and Eve?

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