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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

March 25th: Annunciation

1st Reading (Isa 7:10-14;8:10): The Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying: Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky! But Ahaz answered, «I will not ask! I will not tempt the Lord!». Then Isaiah said: Listen, O house of David! Is it not enough for you to weary people, must you also weary my God? Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us!”.
Responsorial Psalm: 39
R/. 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».

«In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, to do your will, o my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!».

I announced your justice in the vast assembly; I did not restrain my lips, as you, o Lord, know.

Your justice I kept not hid within my heart; your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of; I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth in the vast assembly.
2nd Reading (Heb 10:4-10): Brothers and sisters: It is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats take away sins. For this reason, when Christ came into the world, he said: «Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight. Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll, behold, I come to do your will, o God’». First he says, «Sacrifices and offerings, holocausts and sin offerings, you neither desired nor delighted in». These are offered according to the law. Then he says, «Behold, I come to do your will». He takes away the first to establish the second. By this “will”, we have been consecrated through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 1:14): The Word of God became flesh and made his dwelling among us; and we saw his glory.
Gospel text (Lk 1,26-38): 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.

«Hail, full of grace!»

Fr. Johannes VILAR (Köln, Germany)

Today, during the «Hail, full of grace!» salutation (Lk 1:28) we hear for the first time the name of the Mother of God: Mary (Archangel Gabriel’s second phrase). She has the fullness of grace and the gifts. It is said like this: "keharitoméne", «full of grace» (Angel’s greeting).

15 years old and alone, Mary has to answer in a way that will change the full history of mankind. Saint Bernard pleaded: «The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life». God is awaiting an uninhibited response, and the "full of grace", representing all of us needing Redemption, responds: "génoitó", become! As of today, Mary is freely linked to the Work of her Son; today her Mediation begins. As of today, she is the Mother of those who are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28).

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said during an interview: «[I would like] to reawake the courage to make definitive decisions: they are really the only ones that allow us to grow, to move ahead and to reach something great in life. They are the only decisions that do not destroy our freedom but offer to point us in the right direction. Risk making this leap, so to speak, towards the definitive and so embrace life fully: this is something I would be happy to communicate to them». Mary: here is an example!

And Saint Joseph is also included in God’s plans: he has to accept taking Mary as his wife and name her son (cf. Mt 1:20s): Jesua, "the Lord saves". And He does it. Another example!

The Annunciation also reveals the Trinity: The Father sends the Son, incarnated by the Holy Spirit. And the Church sings: «And the Word becomes flesh today and makes his dwelling among us». His redeeming work —Christmas, Good Friday, Easter— is present in this seed. He is Immanuel, «God with us» (cf. Is 7:15). Rejoice Humanity!

The festivities of Saint Joseph and the Annunciation prepare us excellently to celebrate the Paschal Mystery.

«Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you»

+ Fr. Josep VALL i Mundó (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we celebrate the feast of the Annunciation of our Lord. With the angel Gabriel's announcement and Mary's acceptance of the explicit divine will of incarnating in her womb, God assumes the human condition and nature —«in everything equal to us, except for sin»— to exalt and elevate us as his sons and have us, thus, as partakers of his divine nature. The mystery of faith is so great that Mary, with this announcement, remains appalled. Gabriel tells her: «Do not fear, Mary» (Lk 1:30): the Most High has looked kindly upon you and has chosen you to be the Mother of the Savior of the world. The divine initiatives break the weak human reasoning.

«Do not fear, Mary!». Words we shall often read in the Gospels; the same Lord will repeat them to the Apostles when they closely feel the supernatural force and when they show their fear or fright before the extraordinary works of God. We may ask ourselves for the reasons of this fear. Is it an unreasonable fear, an irrational fright? No! For those who see themselves small and “poor” before God, that clearly feel their weakness, their feebleness before the greatness of the Divine and experiment their nothingness before the magnificence of the Omnipotent, it is a logic fear. Pope saint Leo wonders: «Who will not see his own feebleness in the same Christ?». Mary, the humble town maid, considers herself such a little thing... but in Christ she feels strong and her fear disappears!

Thus, we can clearly understand that God «chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong» (1Cor 1:27). The Lord looks at Mary, sees the smallness of his servant and works the history's greatest marvel on her: the Encarnation of the eternal Verb as Head of a renewed Humanity. How good Bernanos' words to the main character of The Joy can also be applied to the Virgin Mary: «An exquisite feeling of her own weakness comforted and soothed her wonderfully, because it was as an ineffable sign of God's presence in her; the same God shone in her heart».