Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
(Isaiah 7:10-14.8:10; Hebrews 10:4-10; Luke 1:26-38)
In the middle of winter yellow crocuses piercing the snow give a sign of spring. Similarly, now in the middle of Lent the Solemnity of the Annunciation reminds us of Christmas. Jesus, whose death is anticipated throughout this season, is recalled as a newborn bringing joy to the world.
The second reading bridges the two periods. The Letter to the Hebrews announces that Christ, our leader, is born a human. He is like us in all respects except, of course, sin. But that is why he comes – to take away our sins. To conform ourselves to him we fast, pray, and go out of our way to show mercy for forty days. It is not that Jesus’ sacrifice of himself was insufficient to make us like him. Rather, sin bent human nature so out of shape that it takes considerable effort to correct its effect. This is why even Jesus had to fast and pray.
Mary is presented today as our model. Modesty forbids her from recognizing herself in Gabriel’s complimentary greeting. She exhibits no anger or regret at being mandated to give service beyond the call of duty. She only wonders if, perhaps, the angel has come to the wrong door. Then, assured that God wants her and will help her, she generously accepts the request. When we become so humble, patient, and loving, our Lenten journey will have reached its goal.