Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March 25, 2014 Tuesday: The Annunciation of Our Lord

Rather crucial in understanding the event of Annunciation is the person of Mary who may well have been a young lady, possibly not over twenty years old. Like most women getting married at an early age during her time, she had been engaged to Joseph (who himself must have been a young man, and not quite like the old images we have of him as an elderly man). And we need to understand her from a human frame of mind - something that the bible leaves to us to imagine and spell out for ourselves.

How did she feel when the angel told her that she was going to become the mother of the child of the Most High? There must have been questions that any ordinary woman like her would ask. Who me? Why me? I'm just an ordinary girl from Nazareth. Who am I that the Lord should consider me at all? And what will happen to my boyfriend Joseph? What a great embarrassment to my folks and to his folks if we would have to break our engagement! And what will happen to me, when I become pregnant, without a husband? They will not only wonder why, they will probably stone me to death for such a scandal! No wonder Mary was disturbed, and that was why the angel assuaged her of the inner turmoil she was undergoing.

But through this unusual unsettling development in her life at that moment, she must have realized the sheer significance of God's plan for His people: this was now the coming to fulfillment of God's promise of salvation, as promised long before her time. For this great awesome occurrence about to take place, and with her at the center of it, she must have felt overwhelmed, with a sense of being so privileged, that she must have felt humbled. Her response to the angel's proposition? "Who am I to refuse? I am only a servant, at the service of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say." That was quite a great leap of faith, as she probably did not know how exactly the mystery of the Holy Spirit overshadowing her would happen, and what the consequences would be from thereon. All she knew perhaps was God now entering into history, in actual human time, and she was humbly ready to participate in it. In effect, she simply opened her heart and her body to God's plan, and entrusted herself completely to the Lord. And so, the birth of Christ nine months later happened.

But this event was not just all about Mary. Even more importantly, it was really about God who deemed it now time to pierce through human history. It is said that suddenly the infinite God seemed to have become finite, as though stopping and obligingly waiting for Mary'sfiat - those special moments of waiting for her final assent to His divine plan. If Mary was a humble human acceding to the divine request, all the more God humbled Himself to become human. And the rest is history, divine and human history merging together in the birth of the Emmanuel, the God who is with us, one of us.

We could be like Mary in entrusting ourselves humbly to God's plan, to His will in our own lives. There are times when this could be very challenging. If that is so, pray to Mary! Ask her to show you how to trust and entrust. And that is how the Lord Jesus might be born Emmanuel and become present in your lives over and over again.

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