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March 25: The Annunciation of the Lord

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

… the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel….

In the person of Jesus Christ, God and man are united. This is the good news that Saint Gabriel came to announce to Mary: that she would bear in her womb the one through whom all human beings could find eternal life. The profundity of this news overwhelmed Mary, and made her fearful. What would this mean for her life?

Throughout the world and throughout history, human beings have sought to find meaning in their lives in many ways. Similarly, human beings have always searched for love in their lives. We know that there are many different things which people in the world call love, but Jesus Christ and the Church He established upon this earth clearly teach us that there is only one real type of love. It is that love which over many years would lead Mary to Calvary. Only this real love is strong enough to destroy death.

If Mary had understood the fullness of her vocation, she would likely have feared the annunciation of Saint Gabriel even more than she did. Both the Annunciation and its consummation on Calvary are sacred events which call us to consider how God expects us to accept the Holy Spirit in humble submission to the will of God. Mary is the greatest disciple of Our Lord. Beyond her questions she says “Fiat”: “let it be done unto me according to your word”. She accepts the fullness of the Holy Spirit and bears the Body of Christ. She is the model for us who strive faithfully to say, “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.”

Those who have received the gifts of the Holy Spirit in Baptism and have had them strengthened in Confirmation turn to Mary, asking her intercession during their journey towards Calvary, and asking for perseverance to pray beneath the Cross. As each of us shares in the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, may we be transformed in mind and heart, in order to bear the real love of Christ in the world: in the midst of those around us who are seeking God more deeply in their lives, or who do not yet know Him.