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The Annunciation of the Lord

First Reading Isaiah 7:10-14;8:10
Second Reading Hebrews 10:4-10
Gospel Luke 1:26-38

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.”

Nine months before the Church celebrates the Nativity of the Lord, she celebrates His conception within the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We should not be distracted by the fact that this solemnity of the Annunciation falls each year during either Lent or Easter. Rather, we ought to reflect on the relationship between today’s feast and the holy seasons of Lent and Easter.

How is the Lord Jesus’ conception related to His Death and Resurrection? Are they no more than ends of a spectrum? In fact, both are about new life. They draw out, and celebrate, the unity of the person of Jesus Christ. They celebrate the unity of His humanity and divinity in His divine Person.

Yet consider also a related parallel: the relationship between the Annunciation and the Day of Pentecost. Both the Annunciation and Pentecost are about new life.

Both the Annunciation and Pentecost are feasts which reflect on the act of accepting the Holy Spirit in humble submission to the will of God the Father. Mary is the proto-type of the Church: she is our mother and the Mother of the Church. She, who after questioning says “Fiat”, accepts the Holy Spirit and bears the Body of Christ within her own body. She is the model for us who will pray repeatedly throughout the Easter Season: “Come Holy Ghost, Creator blest, and in our hearts take up thy rest.”