Daily Reflection
April 8th, 2002
Chas Kestermeier, S.J.
Jesuit Community
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
Isaiah 7:10-14
Psalm 40:7-8, 8-9, 10, 11
Hebrews 10:4-10
Luke 1:26-38

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of the Annunciation, postponed for two weeks because this year the traditional date of March 25th fell on Monday of Holy Week.  I personally would prefer to consider this the feast of the Incarnation, since this is exactly what the feast is about and this name would be more consistent with the Church's thinking on abortion: the child comes into existence at conception, not at birth...

If the theology of the Old Testament tended to reveal the holiness or purity of God by making him as different and distant from us as possible, on this day God crosses that distance so completely that the humanity which Jesus takes on fits him better than it does us.  We are made in God's image, but it is Jesus who shows us how to live up to the possibilities of that call more perfectly than any human other than Mary has done or ever will do.  It is the Incarnation that makes it possible for us to live our human lives filled with Jesus and his Spirit.

But that is merely shifting the emphasis from Mary to Jesus, and the Annunciation, besides being the moment of the Incarnation, is also the moment at which a mere human being changes the history of all creation by her response to God.

This is that moment when the divine plan, the Father's great desires for us, the entire purpose of creation all seem to hesitate and wait upon the response of this simple girl to the Father's invitation.  God shows an immense respect for Mary by asking her to serve him and to abandon herself to him in this way.  She certainly could not have foreseen all that would befall her as a result of her choice, the literally universal effects of her "Let it be done to me...," and yet the decision was hers. 

Mary's choice is, in a sense, also ours.  The Father asks each of us to accept having Christ born within us, to trust him and to accept a future life for ourselves that we cannot comprehend.  Do we accept this Incarnation, this birth of Christ in us?

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