Memory of Jesus crucified

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Today the Eastern and Western churches celebrate the Lord’s Annunciation to Mary.

Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Luke 1, 26-38

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,

to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

He went in and said to her, 'Rejoice, you who enjoy God's favour! The Lord is with you.'

She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean,

but the angel said to her, 'Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God's favour.

Look! You are to conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus.

He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David;

he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.'

Mary said to the angel, 'But how can this come about, since I have no knowledge of man?'

The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God.

And I tell you this too: your cousin Elizabeth also, in her old age, has conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month,

for nothing is impossible to God.'

Mary said, 'You see before you the Lord's servant, let it happen to me as you have said.' And the angel left her.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Church’s liturgy wants to remind us through a particular memorial the day on which the angel was sent to Nazareth to announce to Mary that she would become Jesus’ mother. The Gospel does not take us to the Jerusalem temple, but rather to a modest house and an adolescent, alone, with a very common name: Mary. The angel enters and greets her. Mary was a girl like any other, living an ordinary life in her village. And yet the Lord’s gaze had come to rest on her. From her conception she had been chosen to be the mother of our Saviour. From conception, God preserved her, cared for her, so to speak, made her beautiful, purified from all stain, so that she could receive the Lord Jesus. This is why the angel can say: "Hail, full of grace." Yes, Mary is full of God’s love. And in this she is the first among us all; that is, she is the one who with the greatest depth knows how to listen to the Word of the Lord. She, in fact, as soon as she heard the words of the angel, she was perplexed. The angel comforts Mary, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive a son... and [you] will name him Jesus." These words upset her even more, in part because she had not yet gone to live with Joseph. And she says it: "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" The angel adds: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you." We can imagine the commotion of thoughts which is unleashed in the girl’s heart! She could say "no" and go on with her quiet life; she could certainly have done this, but she would have thus withdrawn herself from God’s horizons. If on the contrary she says "yes" in the best case she would be taken for an unwed mother. Mary, however, not relying on her strength but solely on the angel’s words, responds: "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." She, the first one to be loved in so great a way by God, is the first to respond to the angel’s word with total acceptance. Mary, the first one of the believers, offers us an example of how to be hearers of God’s Word. Her obedience is at the root of salvation. That day, in that "yes," our forefathers’ disobedience was overturned, and the time of redemption began. Together with Mary let us learn to welcome the Gospel into our heart. We will thus be sharers in the mystery of salvation.