“How Can This Be?”

Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent.

“How can this be?”  “¿Cómo podrá ser esto?” 

That is the question that Mary asked the angel Gabriel at the time of the Annunciation (Luke 1:34).  It’s also a question we sometimes ask ourselves.  We ask that question when we are confronted with a tragedy: sickness, natural disaster, accident, death.  We ask the same question when we are blessed in ways that we did not expect. 

We are invited by the example of Mary to ask this question in yet another situation:  the times when God asks us to help make Jesus alive in the world.  Mary did it literally.  She carried him in her womb for nine months and then gave birth to him.  We are asked to carry and give birth to Jesus in a different way, through our words and actions. 

When we consider our lives, when we consider our sins, when we consider all the ways that we fail as children of God, we may ask, “How can this be?”

The angel’s response to Mary is also God’s response to us.  The Holy Spirit has come upon us—first in Baptism and then in Confirmation.  The power of the Most High overshadows us as we celebrate the other sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and as we receive the word of God. That power is revealed in our vocations, humbly accepted and faithfully lived. Each of us has gifts and talents that God can use.  Each of us has a call to help reveal that Jesus is alive and real.

“How can this be?”  The one whom we extol as “full of grace,” who gave her fiat to the Lord, also tells us the answer:  it simply is.  Nothing is impossible for God. –JC