Scripture: Lectionary 545: The Feast of the Annunciation of our Lord, March 25,(26), 2012. Isaiah 7:10-14. Psalm 40:7-8.9-10.11. Hebrews 10:4-10. Luke 1:26-38

Monday's Readings

We never separate Mary from Jesus. This is a sound principle of our marian theology and liturgical celebrations of Mary, the Mother of God (Theotokos). Matthew 2:11 gives us that principle. It is also true to the Scriptural foundations of Mary in her role in the history of salvation.

Today we ponder the Yes of Mary which changed the whole orientation of the world. God’s plan of salvation history united with our history to give us the greatest story ever told.  In our pondering over the mystery of the Word becoming flesh in the womb of a young woman named Mary of Nazareth we are thankful to Luke, the Evangelist of Mary, for giving us the narrative of how he was inspired to write about this event called the Incarnation.

In this feast we experience both the transcendence of God and the immanence of God’s Son among us. We may envision this more simply as the vertical and the horizontal relationship we have with God.  The narrative of Luke 1:26-38 brings out this wonderful union of the divine with the human.  An Angel is sent to announce the mystery to this young woman and her perfect human response after carefully questioning and dialoguing with the messenger from God called Gabriel, she says YES.  John puts it in these words that show the effectiveness of a human yes to a divine call : “And the Word was made flesh and dwelled among us.” Matthew gives this a name that is characteristic of the Word (Jesus) and calls him Emmanuel, that is, God is with us.  This is the horizontal or historical reality of the meaning of the Incarnation.  It all depended on a human YES.

The mystery of the transcendent is seen in the narrative where the messenger (an angel) is speaking of God, of the Holy Spirit, and of the Holy One (the Son, Jesus) who will be born of the Virgin Mary. Both the vertical and the horizontal are symbols of this event and show their union with one another in the divine and the human.

Our own relationship with the Trinity of persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is strengthened when we contemplate the person of Mary who gave her obedient yes to her vocation to be the mother of the Messiah.  All things were in order. Her spouse Joseph was of the royal lineage of David and Mary, too, may have been for she is related to the priestly dimension of Aaron and Levi through her cousin Elizabeth who is mentioned in this beautiful marian passage.

Our own yes to God takes place in the ordinary happenings we face from hour to hour, day to day.  We work mostly in the “horizontal” dimension or the immanence of God working within us even when we are not aware of this grace and gift.  The prayers, sacraments, and advice we hear from others are another way of understanding the yes of God today.

We realize from Luke that Jesus learned how to say yes from his mother. Here is the way Luke puts it: “And he went down with them to Nazareth, and was subject to them; and his mother kept all these things carefully in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and grace before God and men. Notice the transcendent and the immanent; the vertical and the horizontal in this verse about Jesus.  (Luke 2:51-52).

Jesus and Mary knew how to always say Yes to God. Jesus first learned this from Mary and she continued to follow his Yes. Paul tells us about this Yes of Jesus: “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silvanus and Timothy—was not now “Yes” and now “No,” but only “Yes” was in him. For all the promises of God find their “Yes” in him; and therefore through him also rises the “Amen” to God unto our glory.” (II Corinthians 1:19-20). Amen.