March 25, 2020
by Cindy Murphy McMahon
Creighton University's Communication and Marketing
click here for photo and information about the writer

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
Lectionary: 545

Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10
Psalms 40:7-8A, 8B-9, 10, 11
Hebrews 10:4-10
Luke 1:26-38

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Pope Francis on the Annunciation - 2014

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Just when people think they have God figured out, that they know what God wants from them, God instead surprises them.

In the first reading, the Lord tells Ahaz to ask for a sign, but Ahaz, based on his preconceived ideas about how God operates, refuses. To do what God asks would violate what he believes God prefers. Never mind that God is telling him something new, something different. His mind is made up, closed off.

Isaiah then says this sort of behavior – preferring our own ways and beliefs to the reality of the Holy Spirit all around us – is wearisome to God. And out of that frustration, that weariness, comes the greatest revelation and prophecy ever made – the prophecy about God taking on human flesh, becoming a living, breathing human being, born of a virgin. How’s that for being a surprising turn of events?

Paul’s letter to the Hebrews contains more surprises. He states that it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins (which is in opposition to what many Hebrews at the time believed) and he quotes Jesus, who in turn was quoting scriptures that make up today’s responsorial psalms.

So God, throughout history, had been giving a message that what God desired was people’s hearts, not superficial, ritualistic sin offerings. The psalmist revealed it, Jesus confirmed it, and then settled it once and for all with his own sacrifice as proof. Surprising news to many once again!

Then we come to the Gospel, the Annunciation, wherein the surprising God fulfills the prophecy with the cooperation of a young Hebrew woman named Mary. Mary was certainly surprised, but not so much that she said no. She had some questions, but she heard, felt and saw enough to trust God, and the rest is history

To me, the lesson for us here is that God is full of the unexpected. We must not put God in a set, confining, constricting, limiting understanding that we have. God enjoys surprising us, so we must remain open to the wonders of the Lord and the marvels of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives.

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