A homily from Father Francis Maple OFM CAP
The young couple, Mary and Joseph, were in love with each other and looking forward to being married. They also had a great love for God. As the story unfolds, we learn about an even greater love, the infinite love which God has for every human being.
For many many years mankind was separated from God through the sin of our first parents. God was waiting for the appropriate moment to bridge the gap between Himself and us. The only way God wanted it to come about was for His Son to become one of us. Now His Son, the perfect God man, could say to His Father "On behalf of my sinful brothers and sisters I apologise for the wrong done.” This day, the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord, was the day that God chose to put His plan into action.
This love of God was revealed to Mary in the words of archangel Gabriel. Mary was the highly favoured woman who was to give birth to God's Son. Mary was at first very disturbed by this news, and she could not understand how such a conception could take place. The angel gave her the explanation she needed. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the Child will be holy and will be called the Son of God.” In these words God announced for the first time that in Him there are three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Before this moment, the Jews had believed that there was only one Person in God. Even great men like Abraham, Moses King David and the prophets had no knowledge of the Blessed Trinity. How fitting it was that this intimate detail of God's life should have been first revealed to Mary, who was to bear His Son.
Each Person of the Blessed Trinity loved us and wanted to play a part in saving us. The Father was giving His Son, the Son was humbling Himself to become one of us, and this would be achieved by the love and power of the Holy Spirit. Now, only one more thing was needed, the love and co-operation of Mary. Mary was free to say yes or no to God. Our salvation depended on her answer. Because she loved God so much there was only one answer she could give, and that was, "I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let what you have said be done to me."
In my book those are the greatest words in the bible. If Mary had not recited them there would have been no Jesus. Our salvation depended on Mary’s consent. She was so important to God and us. We can’t thank her enough for her love and generosity.
All the persons in our story fully gave their love. What is God asking of us? He wants our love. Because we are sinners, we cannot love Him perfectly, as He loves us, but we can try our best. This is a love story which will never end, because it will continue into eternity.
(Today’s feast has a message for those who practice and believe in abortion. Life is sacred and begins at the moment of conception, not after 20, 22 or 24 weeks as some would have us believe.)
Let us end on a note of thanks. We thank each Person of the Blessed Trinity and Mary and Joseph for the part they played in our redemption.
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