Annunciation = Invitation + Affirmation/Incarnation

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Luke 1:26-38

On the surface, today’s celebration is about an event:  the angel Gabriel’s visit to a young, newly-married (i.e., betrothed) woman in a small town announcing that she had been chosen to bear and give birth to the Son of God.  But the Annunciation is more than an event.  It’s an invitation and an affirmation of the Incarnation.

Gabriel invites Mary to consider that she is already “full of grace,” prepared through her own Immaculate Conception and the years that followed to fulfill a singular vocation in salvation history.  While she is initially troubled by the angel’s appearance and message and has questions, Mary affirms God’s call and says, “May it be done to me according to your word.”  God’s Word, Jesus, becomes flesh in her womb.

There will never be another person exactly like Mary, nor a mission exactly like hers.  But we can learn from her example.  Through Baptism, each of us is already full of grace.  We share a common humanity (including our limitations and sinfulness), but each of us is also unique, called by God to know, love and serve him in a way that is and will be unlike any other in all of history.

Each of us must affirm that call.  All of us, in some way, can make the Word of God, Jesus, flesh in our world.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us graced sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. –jc