Annunciation-Mar 25

Annunciation, Wednesday, 25-03-20
Isaiah 7:10-14 / Hebrews 10:4-10 / Luke 1:26-38 

St. Augustine was quoted as saying: God does not ask of us the impossible. He may ask us to do the difficult thing, but He will make it possible. 

Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation, the proclamation of the Good News of salvation.  It is not only a joyful event, it is also a very profound event in God's plan of salvation.  Yet for Mary, it was not just an event; it was for her a mission.  And if she said "Yes" then it was going to be a life-long mission. And it was going to be difficult.  But God assured her it was not going to be impossible.  Mary put her faith and trust in God as she accepted her mission.  We live in difficult and fragile times. We have wars here and epidemics there and all sorts of things everywhere.  Trying to believe and live out the Good News is not only difficult, but seemingly impossible.  Believing that there can be peace that there can be joy, that there can be love, can be difficult.  But let this celebration of the Annunciation, the celebration of the Good News of our salvation, remind us that difficulty is not synonymous with impossibility.  We join Mary to say "Yes" to God because we want to believe that God is greater than any difficulty and impossibility.

Wednesday March 25   

We celebrate today the solemn feast of the Annunciation. “Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” said the old missal. That was correct, in a way, for the angel came to announce glad tidings to Mary. “Annunciation of the Lord,” says the new missal. Yes, this is the day that the good news is announced that she will become the Mother of Jesus. It is Jesus who is announced. He will be “God-with-us” (1st reading), who comes to do God’s will by being with us and saving us (2ND. reading). It’s Jesus’ day, but it’s also Mary’s day. With the same disposition to serve God and people as Jesus had, she says, I am fully ready to serve – “I am the handmaid of the Lord.” May these be our words too.   

Penitential Rite:
-With Ahaz I learn to say, "I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!", LHM
-With Ahaz I learn to Listen, I who weary people, must not weary my God?, CHM
- you will give us this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means "God is with us!", LHM
-Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me, LHM
-in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight, CHM
-Behold, I come to do your will.We have been consecrated
through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all., LHM

Opening Prayer   
Our faithful God and Father, you are indeed our “God-with-us.”  Your Son became one of us, human, born of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary.  He came to serve, she was the humble handmaid.  Make us deeply aware, Lord, that salvation began with service.  Make us ready to serve in love, as Mary did, together with Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord for ever.

The scene of the Annunciation with its key figures—Angel Gabriel and Mary—is perhaps one of the most depicted Biblical events in art. But, if I had an artistic talent, I would love to depict the scene with Mary alone, focusing on the simple but profound final statement of the event in Luke: “And the angel left her”.  Gabriel came to her with the most momentous of tasks and waited and waited for her consent. Mary was troubled at heart and had a few doubts. Gabriel offered clarifications. Mary still did not understand what it all entailed, but she surrendered herself totally to God’s plan. But the moment Mary said her “Yes”, the angel left her. There would be no more annunciations or manifest interventions from heaven. No angel would visit her again. There would be no miraculous rescue when Herod threatened to kill the child. No heavenly aid would come to help her find the child Jesus lost in the Temple. After the Annunciation, Mary would have to ask her path and live out her yes in the dark light of faith. To her remit, she did it to perfection. Blessed is she among all women and men who have walked and will walk the face of the earth.   

On this solemnity of the Annunciation, let us pray with Mary for the needs of the Church and of all people. 

– That the Church may always accept and carry out its vocation of proclaiming the Word of God faithfully and with zeal, we pray: 
– That with the Lord we may reach out with goodness and tender care to the weak and those suffering, we pray: 
– That those who have to take important decisions regarding the future of their life may, like Mary, see how they can best serve God and people, we pray: 
– That we may all become unaffected and humble enough to let God do great things through us, we pray: 
– That all in our Christian communities may be open enough to God’s Sprit to accept any task God asks of us, we pray: 

Lord God, hear us as we ask you that with Mary we may seek your will in all we do. Grant this through her Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.   

Prayer over the Gifts   
Lord our God, here are bread and wine  as signs of our willingness  to be available to you and to our neighbor.  As Jesus could come among people because Mary was ready to serve,  so may your Son now be alive among us  because we open our hearts  to you and to those around us,  together with Jesus Christ our Lord.   

Prayer after Communion   
Lord God, our Father, you have announced also to us today that your Son came among us  to be the our life and joy.  He has been with us  as your living word and our bread of life.  May we grow in his life  and, like Mary, by his word bring a message  of liberation and happiness  to those in search of life and meaning.  We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.    

“Here I am to do your will,” says Jesus. “Here I am as the handmaid of the Lord,” says Mary. May these be our words too. They are beautiful, but they are not easy. May God be our strength, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.