Because March 25 fell on Palm Sunday, the Solemnity of the Annunciation was transferred to April 9 this year.
The Solemnity which we celebrate today is about a promise. After the sin of Adam and Eve, God promised to initiate a plan that would win our salvation. That promise was fulfilled when the angel announced to Mary that she would be the Mother of God.
The Church uses Psalm 40 as the responsorial on this feast. Perhaps that choice was guided by the quotation of the psalm in the Letter to the Hebrews. Nonetheless, it is a wonderful choice because it helps us to pray that we, like Mary, will be open to God’s will in our lives. It is Mary’s obedient response to the angel’s message that makes possible the fulfillment of the ancient promise made in the Garden of Eden thousands of years earlier.
The message of the angel begins with an important assertion. The Lord is with Mary. When we truly understand that God is with us, then it becomes possible to do whatever God asks. The message that God is with us just as surely as God was with Mary is the idea that comes to my mind whenever I read this Gospel. Anything that God asks of us, any task God wishes us to perform, any cross God wishes us to bear is possible if we realize that God’s strength is all we need.
The tradition of the Church is that the angel came to Mary in an ordinary moment of her day. She may have been at the well drawing water or preparing the bread for the day. She may have been laundering the clothes. However, while St. Luke depicts the annunciation of the Baptist’s birth in the Temple of Jerusalem, the annunciation of Jesus’ birth is made in a simply and ordinary moment of the Virgin Mary’s day. This aspect of the Gospel reminds us that God’s will for us can be found in the simple and quite ordinary moments of our day.
Throughout the day, call to mind this simple message, “The Lord is with you.” As you receive him this morning, take him with you to be with you throughout the day.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator