( A commentary on Luke 1: 26-38)
Daily Reflection – 3/25/2021
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “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 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.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “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 behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38)
Here we are approaching the end of Lent and today’s Gospel recounts the story of the angel Gabriel announcing to Mary that she will be the mother of God. To many, that Gospel may seem a juxtaposition to the Lenten journey.
But is it?
Isn’t Lent supposed to be a time when we examine whether we are truly saying “yes” to God’s invitation to be part of our life? And isn’t this the time when we decide whether we are going to say “May it be done”?
If you agree, then you can appreciate why Mary’s story moves us all from who we think we are to what God has called us to be, from observant believer to confessing apostle. Moreover, remarkably, impossibly, Mary’s story demands that we acknowledge the very transformation of God. It is no small journey to go from our comfortable perceptions of God in heaven to God in the manger, vulnerable, helpless, dependent.
The Reverend Michael Marsh wrote: ” This Feast of Interruption, the Annunciation, is the content of, gives meaning to, and fulfills everything that happens in Jesus’ life, everything he does, and everything that he is. With the Annunciation the divine thread is woven through every womb and every tomb. The fabric of human life has forever been changed. That’s why we can and do take this Lenten journey. It’s what enables us to walk through the sufferings of Holy Week.”
Mary’s faith and purity sensitized her to God’s truth. She accepted the angel’s message and all of its implications for her own life – a radical, unforeseen change in her plans. She was able to do so because she had long ago assimilated a doctrine we too often ignore, one that Gabriel reminded her of: “Nothing is impossible for God.”
We can learn no greater lesson than how to say yes to God. Mary’s “yes” reversed Eve’s “no,” and paved the way for Christ’s undoing of Adam’s fall. Likewise, when God disrupts our lives – through the voice of conscience, the normal responsibilities and demands of our state in life, or the indications of Christian teaching – our “yes” can echo Mary’s and make more room for Christ in this fallen world. But our “no” – or even our “maybe” – can just as easily shut him out.
And so that is our Lenten crisis of conscience. God is calling you and me. His invitation to be one with Him is waiting patiently for our heart to answer. Do we choose Him as an active part of our life – every day? Do we trust and love Him? Do we give Him to others as He gave His Son to us?
For you and me, I pray that our Lenten journey ends with: “May it be done to me according to your word.”
Prayer of The Day
“Heavenly Father, Help me to live a grace-filled life as Mary did by believing in your promises and by giving you my unqualified “yes” to your will and plan for my life.”
With the Annunciation God promises to interrupt our lives. Hidden within every womb and every tomb is Gabriel’s announcement, “Greetings favored one! The Lord is with you” (Lk. 1:28). Gabriel’s words echo in our wombs and in our tombs interrupting our lives with Life. That’s the necessary interruption. That’s the interruption we yearn for. That’s the interruption we seek and for which we are desperate. That’s the interruption we so need in our daily lives. He is with us. He asks only that we share His love in the conduct of our lives. He asks only that we become Followers of His Way.