Wednesday - March 25
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. It is conveniently placed nine months before Christmas, to highlight Mary’s obedience to God through the message of the Angel Gabriel. However, the Annunciation is also a reminder of the Incarnation of Jesus into our world as the living presence of God. In Spain, around the year 1000, this feast was celebrated on December 18th and understood as part of the Nativity event.
Mary, our spiritual Mother, is such an important role model for us. The story of the Annunciation shows us the way to discipleship. From the opening words of the Angel, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you” to the final words of Mary, “May it be done to me according to your word,” we see the pattern of discipleship.
God comes to us and gives us the grace of The Call. We are the favored ones, receiving the call to follow him. Like Mary, our initial response is usually one of fear and hesitancy. How can this be? Surely not me, Lord? But over time The Call becomes more evident, either through our desire for true joy, or through the troubles we bring into our life through sin.
The Call demands a response. Jesus never forces us to follow Him. Our response is rarely as immediate and as decisive as Mary’s response to the angel. More likely, our desire for a better life leads us to say yes to Jesus gradually over time. We may even approach Jesus’ call with skepticism, due to the times in the past when others have deceived and hurt us, or failed to deliver what they promised. Jesus is not like the others. Jesus is pure love, gently pointing us toward the path that leads to eternal happiness.
Eventually, filled with God’s grace, we need to make a firm and complete response. What we need to embrace, even in all our sinfulness, is that, like Mary, we too have found favor with God. Like Mary, we need to say yes to God, become one with Emmanuel, God with us, and offer our life to Him with the words, “May it be done to me according to your word.”
If we respond to the call of Jesus, and choose to follow Him, then we can wake up every morning and pray the words of the psalm, “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.”
Question for Reflection:
In what way is God calling you to do His will today?