March 25, 2015

Annunciation

March 25, 2015:  Annunciation of the Lord

13 links to today's Bible readings and celebration!
Legend below
Listen

Pope Francis audience
Today we celebrate the Annunciation, when the Lord illumined and strengthened Mary's faith, as he did later for Joseph, so Jesus could be born in a human family.  The Incarnation is not just Jesus' conception in Mary's womb but also his being welcomed into a true family.  How beautiful this bond, this condescension of God!

Today many celebrate the Day of Life, and St. John Paul II signed Evangelium vitae, in which the family, the womb of human life, is central.  God blessed us to form a community of love and life and entrusted to us the mission of procreation.  Christian spouses, celebrating the Sacrament of Matrimony, open themselves to this blessing.  The Church is committed to the care of the family, as God's gift for her own life, in good times and bad: the bond between Church and family is sacred.  Mother Church never abandons the family, even when it's disheartened, wounded, and mortified; it'll do everything to seek to heal it, to invite it to conversion, and to reconcile it with the Lord.
The Church needs much prayer to fulfill this mission, prayer full of love for the family and for life, prayer that knows how to rejoice with those who rejoice and suffer with those who suffer.  Pray for October's Synod on the family, animated by the Good Shepherd's compassion, especially for the troubled and abandoned, so we can be ever more committed and united in witness of God's love and mercy for all families:
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in whom we contemplate the splendor of true love, we confidently turn to you.  Holy Family of Nazareth, make our families places of communion and cenacles of prayer, schools of the Gospel, and little domestic Churches.  May they never more experience violence, isolation, or division.  May anyone who was wounded or scandalized experience consolation and healing.  May the upcoming Synod reawaken an awareness of the family's sacredness, inviolability, and beauty.  Amen.
Read
  • Is 7:10-14; 8:10  Lord / Ahaz:  "Ask for a sign!" / “No; I won't test God.”  Isaiah:  "The Lord will give you this sign:  the virgin shall bear a son, Emmanuel, 'God with us!'"
    The Annunciation/ Tissot
  • Ps 40:7-11  "Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will."  You wanted obedience, not sacrifice.  I delight in doing your will.  I announced your justice, faithfulness, kindness, and truth.
  • Heb 10:4-10  Bull/goat blood doesn't take away sins.  He says, “You didn't want sacrifices,” then, “I come to do your will,” taking away the first to establish the second.  We've been consecrated through the offering of the Body of Jesus.
  • Lk 1:26-38  God sent Gabriel to Mary betrothed to Joseph:  “Fear not; you'll bear a great son, Jesus, Son of the Most High, to rule forever.” / “How?” / “The Holy Spirit will come upon you....  'Barren' Elizabeth has also conceived; nothing will be impossible for God.” / “OK; I'm the Lord's handmaid.”
Reflect
  • Poem:  Annunciation, by Denise Levertov  (Link includes the last 18 lines, usually omitted.)
  • Creighton: Today we celebrate God's becoming human, God's in-breaking into our world.  Our humanity with its limitations, our desire for God, and our capacity to love and forgive put us in solidarity with Christ and God.  The dynamic solidarity catches us up in God’s plan, precipitated by Mary in the event we now celebrate.
  • One Bread One Body:  "Inconceivable conception":  How shocking that God would became human!  More so than seeing a loved one as a bug.  May I respond by living a radically new life of love....
    Study for the Annunciation/ Tanner
  • Passionist:  When Mary said yes, her life was irrevocably and unpredictably changed.  What would she tell Joseph and her family and friends?  How could she raise the Son of God?  How did she pray?  Ask for her inspiration and guidance to overcome fear of the future, find deeper faith, and provide my family with the nurturing love she showed hers.
  • DailyScripture.net:  As Eve was mother of all humanity doomed to sin, Mary became mother of the new Adam who fathered a new humanity by his grace.  Her child fulfilled God's promises:  great, Son of the Most High, King, Jesus ("the Lord saves").  Her first response ("How can this be...?") was of wonderment, not skepticism.  She trusted that what God said would be fulfilled and was willing and eager to do God's will.  God gives us grace and expects us to respond with the same willingness, obedience, and trust as she did.  Do I yield to grace, or resist?
  • Universalis:  We celebrate Mary's "yes;" she could have in her freedom said no.  When the Almighty wants something done, he asks one of his poor, weak creatures—and gives us strength to make the right choice and follow through.  I'm unique and have a unique purpose....
Dress legend
  • "Happy birthday, Jesus" pin [it could have been any sign]:  "Ahaz, ask for a sign" (1st reading) [today's tie trumped my 'signs' tie]; Annunciation led to Jesus' birth (gospel)
    • 'Hearts' suspenders:  Your law is in my heart (psalm)
    • 'Blood drop' pin:  Bull or goat blood can't take away sins (2nd reading)
    • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  Spirit conceived Jesus (gospel)
    • Blue tie with crowns:  'Blessed Mother blue' (gospel); God will give Jesus the throne of David (gospel)
    • 'Angel,' 'Mary' pins:  Gabriel's annunciation to Mary (gospel)
    • 'Question mark' tie pin:  "How can this be?" (gospel)
    • "No-'L'" pin:  gospel is from Luke's infancy narrative
    • 'Phone' tie bar:  God's 'call' to Mary through Gabriel
    • White shirt:  today's liturgical color