Daily Readings Reflection for the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Scripture: Lectionary #545: Isaiah 7:10-14.  Psalm 40: 7-8.8-9.10.11.
Hebrews 10:4-10. Luke 1:26-38 and response before Gospel John 1:14

Today’s Readings

We are nine months before Christmas and today’s Gospel is announcing the
conception of Jesus through the narrative Luke has so masterfully created.
It is the key passage for Mary in the New Testament though each passage is
a priceless pearl.  In rereading many times this passage you may realize it
differs from the Ave Maria prayer dedicated to Mary which we call the Hail
Mary.  Without losing the importance the passage has for the
Christ-centered dimension of the Gospel of Luke, we turn as he did to the
person of Mary who is being greeted or hailed by a messenger, the Angel
Gabriel.  The announcement says, “Rejoice, O highly favored daughter.”  It
is a messianic greeting that is found in several of the prophets–Joel,
Zacharia, Zephania where the same expression in the Septuagint is the one
Luke uses, “Chaire” or Rejoice.  The next word is the way the Angel
supplies a new name to the person receiving the message which means a new
mission or calling in life that will effect God’s people.  Even though our
liturgical translation from the New American Bible is close to the Greek,
there is no word like daughter within the text except through interpreting
the feminine ending given to the verbal expression called a perfect passive
participle.  Mary is called “Kecharitomene” which is literally translated
as the one, or You, (Mary) have already been blessed with loving-kindness,
that is, with the grace of God in abundance.  The verb itself is
multivalent and contains the idea of someone who is graced by God, is
beautiful, is favored, etc.  The verb is causative that is it effects what
it says so God is declaring what gifts Mary already possesses.  It is only
used of a person, Mary, in this passage and nowhere else in the New
Testament nor in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible
called the Tanakh.

Mary thus is the focus in the first part of the Annunciation which will
through her “yes” to the Angel become an effective mission and a vocation
within her vocation to be the spouse of Joseph.  The Annunciation thus is
called by the Church, the Annunciation of the Lord but we see also that it
is a vocation story for the person of Mary who will become the mother of
the Messiah mentioned in the above prophetic texts starting with the word
“Chaire” or Rejoice.

Today we may wish to take some time to meditate on the new name our
spiritual mother receives.  We may see in that name her mission and
vocation that completes her relationship with God as well as her fidelity
in marriage to Joseph of the lineage of David–the messianic link for
Jesus’ call to be the Messiah and Mary to be the Mother of the Messiah.
Finally, since the feast is also centered on Jesus, we may wish to link it
to his conception and the great dignity of being conceived for living a
life dedicated to the will of God. Life is for living and this Son of Mary
will show us how to do that living.  We may rejoice in the many surprises
of grace that Mary is experiencing in this scene and also in our finding
grace for ourselves through the inspired text given to us through Luke a
creative and active agent of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit has a vital role
in both Mary and in us the readers of Luke.  Let us rejoice and be filled
with grace on this day when we think about it whether saying, “Hail, Mary,
full of grace” or hearing or reading “Rejoice! Highly Favored One. Amen.”

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