April 4, 2016


April 4, 2016:  Annunciation of the Lord

See 13 connections with today?
Legend below

Pope Francis homily
After the sin of Adam and Eve, the Lord commanded them to walk and fill the earth.  The Lord paid attention, and punished his people for mistakes; think of Babel and the flood.  God was always watching what we were doing.  When he decided to create a people and called Abraham, Abraham said yes and left his land without knowing where he was going.  With Abraham, God began to ‘walk with.’  God did the same with Moses, and Moses at 80 said yes and set the people free.
God did the same with the prophets:  when the Lord called Isaiah, Isaiah responded that he had “unclean lips,” but the Lord purified his lips and Isaiah said yes!  Jeremiah's first response was, “I don’t know how to speak; I'm a boy!”  But God commanded him, and he responded “yes!”  So many said yes; there's a humanity of elderly men and women who said yes to the Lord’s hope. 
At the end of this yes-chain is another ‘yes,’ Mary's.  With this one God not only watches how we're going and walks with his people, but becomes one of us and takes on our flesh.  Her yes opens the door to Jesus':  “I come to do your will.”  His yes goes with him throughout his life, up to the Cross:  "Father, remove this cup; nevertheless not my will, but yours.”  Jesus is God's "yes."
Thank the Lord for teaching us this way of ‘yes’ and for caring about our life.  Every day we must say yes or no to what God asks of us.  Today is the celebration of ‘yes.’  In Mary’s yes is the yes of all salvation history and the beginning of the ultimate ‘yes’ of people and God:  God re-creates, sanctifies us, lets us go forth in Christ.  Ask, do I say yes, or no, or look away so as not to respond?  May the Lord grant us the grace to take the path of yes.
  • 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.”
  • Poem:  Annunciation, by Denise Levertov  (Link includes the last 18 lines, usually omitted.)
  • Why are we celebrating so late (i.e., not exactly 9 months before Christmas)?  March 25 was Good Friday, and that trumped even this solemn celebration.  So did Easter Vigil, Easter Sunday, and every day of the Easter Octave (through yesterday, Divine Mercy Sunday).  Today is the first available day, and so we celebrate Jesus' Incarnation.
    Study for the Annunciation/ Tanner
  • Creighton:  Mary said yes from her heart, not because someone told her to.  I respond to "should"-voices in my head because I'm afraid of making a mistake or suffering pain or ridicule.  But she responded out of love, not fear.  Responding out of love takes courage, can be counter-cultural, can be lonely.  Pause to notice when we respond from the heart and when from the head, when out of love, when out of fear.  Lord, give me courage to follow Mary's example and respond from the heart.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "With Him":  Love songs express a lover's desire to be with the beloved, no matter what.  Jesus had to be with us; he took flesh so he could, and his name is "God with us"  He suffered and died for us to be with us and save us.  Jesus, Love Incarnate, is with us.  When we give him our lives, we are in Love.  Being in love with Jesus, we want to be with him, even if it means forgiving enemies and enduring the cross, mockery, persecution, poverty, insult, accusations, or martyrdom.  Jesus so desires being with us, he gives us his body in the Eucharist.  "I am with you always...."
  • Passionist:  "Fiat!" Mary’s “yes” helped give flesh to the Good News of God’s merciful love in the person of Jesus who lived, taught, healed, suffered, died and rose for us.  Mary, our redeemer's mother and ours, is lovingly present and encourages us in our calling.  We face challenges and opportunities and can benefit from her humble example.  May joy radiate from us as we live out our call to proclaim and give flesh to God’s mercy and love.
Dress legend
  • "Happy birthday, Jesus" pin [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

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