In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. He was sent to a virgin, who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
The angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean.
But the angel said, “Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a son, and you shall call him Jesus. He will be great, and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the kingdom of David, his ancestor; he will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and his reign shall have no end.”
Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the holy child to be born of you shall be called Son of God. Even your relative Elizabeth is expecting a son in her old age, although she was unable to have a child; and she is now in her sixth month. With God nothing is impossible.”
Then Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.” And the angel left her.
Today on the Feast of the Annunciation, our focus is on the person of Mary—who she is to us, who she is to the world. To ask, “who is she,” will evoke myriads of answers, depending on our perspectives of her. Today we are invited to consider her as a person of faith, standing before us in her humanity, struggling with the daily demands of her life and the meaning of the troubling words of the angel’s greeting. Yet Mary believed God’s promises even when they seemed impossible. She was open to do God’s will, even if it seemed difficult or costly. God’s invitation is always disturbing and disruptive of our familiar routines in life. It calls us to change, to look at life with new sets of eyes and listen with new ears. Mary is showing us how to respond to God’s invitation. She is asking us to prepare our hearts for her Son and to journey with him in his mission. She invites us to participate with her in giving birth to Jesus, in raising him, in listening to him, in watching and waiting with him, in weeping and mourning for him, and in becoming his disciple.
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