Annunciation of the Lord

In 13 Today's Church on 2017/02/10 at 12:00 AM


  • If art is any indication of the importance of any mystery of our faith, then the mystery we celebrate today is extremely important. Indeed, it is quite difficult to walk into any art museum that houses any religious pieces without seeing some representation of the Annunciation.
  • So many of history’s greatest classical artists – Giotto, Da Vinci, Lippi, Fra Angelico, Titian, Bottticelli, van Eyck, Caravaggio, and so many others – have depicted this most famous of meetings between the Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary in art.
  • Perhaps the Annunciation has been a favorite subject of artists because of the drama of it all. Imagine: the salvation for all of humanity depending on the free consent of a teenaged virgin!
  • And by her fiat, we are given hope, for the Virgin Mary has heard that she will conceive and bear the Son of God, the Savior of the World.
  • He is to be called Emmanuel, God with us, for this Son is both God and man, our savior and redeemer. In offering this Son to Mary, the Father – through the intrepid service of the archangel Gabriel – has offered to her the chance to aid man’s redemption, lost through sin in the Garden.
  • Like those condemned to die for their sins, we look to Mary as the only sure hope of reprieve. Her yes gains us pardon and calls us back to life. Through her fiat salvation is born for all mankind.
  • So we beg her this day to answer quickly. As St. Bernard once wrote to our Lady: “Let humility bebold, let modesty be confident. This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In thismatter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous.”1
  • And so it is that our Almighty Lord, Emmanuel, God with us, comes to dwell miraculously withinthe womb of one of His creatures. To be sure, our Lady is the highest honor of our race,immaculately prepared for her role in salvation history from the first moment of her conception.
  • But she is a creature nonetheless, and the annunciation of our salvation and Mary’s acceptance ofthis august role in the salvation of all mankind is therefore a cause of great wonder and rejoicing, for the mystery of the Annunciation is the sign that God desires not only to save us, but for man to be intimately involved in his salvation!
  • This incredible mystery shows us the power and responsibility that God accords to free will. Salvation is indeed a gift that God alone gives; but man must respond by an act of his own free will. We see this so clearly in the Virgin Mary.
  • Because she said yes to our Lord’s invitation to be the Mother of God, we now have the chance to say yes to the gift of salvation. Because Mary allowed our Lord to dwell within her, she has now opened the door for Him to enter the world and dwell with the whole human race!
  • Though our Lord’s earthly life was a mere 33 years, and though He has died, rose again from the grave, and ascended into Heaven, He still comes to dwell within us: at our baptism.
  • It is in that most sublime moment of our lives that we make our own personal fiat, asking Him to dwell within our souls. When we pass through the saving waters of baptism, He comes, as surely as the sun rises in the east every morning, bringing with Him that grace by which we are saved.
  • But at our baptism our Lord doesn’t just come to dwell within us. He also takes us to Himself. He comes to dwell within us, but at the same time He makes us a member of His mystical body so that we may dwell within Him.
  • At our baptism a covenant is formed between us and our Lord in which we promise to give ourselves fully to Him, and our Lord promises to give Himself fully to us. And every time we receive Holy Communion worthily, that covenant of grace is consummated and renewed.1 St. Bernard, In Praise of the Virgin Mother.
  • But all of this is only possible because one young woman agreed to say yes first. Our Lady with grace and humility, both sublime and gentle, allowed God’s will to be done, and we are the beneficiaries.
  • So my dear brothers and sisters, let us give thanks this day to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the handmaid of the Lord, for without her fiat we would all be lost.
  • And let us pray to our dear Lord above that we may be made worthy sons and daughters of so noble a mother.

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio .
To enable the audio, please go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

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