Feast of the Annunciation
The annunciation is a faith event. Dramatically, this poor, unconventional peasant woman’s free and autonomous answer opens a new chapter in the history of God with the world…Seen in this light, the particulars of Mary’s call, unique in that only one woman conceives and delivers Jesus, illuminate the fundamentals of everyone’s vocation through the ages. The Holy One, calls all people, indeed all women, and gifts them for their own task in the ongoing history of grace. In the midst of family, work and social life, in village, suburb and city, it begins with an encounter in the solitude of the heart before God: every woman, the voice, the call, the courageous response, in the context of a world struggling for life.
Truly Our Sister, Elizabeth Johnson
Speak, O God, your servant is listening.
1 Samuel 3:10
I will make time to listen for the movement of God’s Spirit in my life.
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
It’s a prophetic call, a call of vocation to be a partner with God in this great work. Mary gives her free assent, thus launching her life on an adventure whose outcome she does not know. She walks by faith, not by sight.
Elizabeth Joihnson, CSJ
Many times in the Old Testament the words “the Lord is with you” signaled that someone was being called to a daunting task. In fact, these words often accompanied an invitation from God to play a crucial role in his plan of salvation. Such a divine calling generally entailed great sacrifices and challenged people to step out of their comfort zones and put their trust in God like never before.
No one can possibly know what is about to happen: it is happening each time, for the first time, for the only time.
Remember this unwed peasant mother from an impoverished village and her little family, like millions of people today, fell afoul of power. Shortly after the birth of her first child, they narrowly escaped a politically inspired massacre carried out by the local militia. For a time they were stateless refugees in a foreign nation. Eventually, her first born son came to the attention of the occupying power, was arrested and tortured to death in public.