You may think it a bit odd that we are reading the account of the Annunciation from Luke 1:26-38 as we begin the second week of Easter. The reason this is so is that the Solemnity of the Annunciation usually falls on March 25 because that is calculated to be nine months until December 25. This year March 25 fell on Palm Sunday, then Holy Week, and Easter, so today is the first opportunity to celebrate the Annunciation.
The Solemnities of the Annunciation and Easter help us to remember and celebrate the two major foundational beliefs that we follow as Christians: the Incarnation and the Resurrection. The Incarnation is the acknowledgment that the second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Son of God, was conceived in the womb of Mary and became human. He retained the fullness of his divinity while at the same time experiencing the fullness of his humanity.
The Resurrection as we have been celebrating this Easter Season is the deeper embrace of the human condition as Jesus encountered and experienced the result of our sinfulness, which is death. He did so in the most brutal of ways through betrayal and crucifixion. Yet death did not have the last word for Jesus. Jesus accepted death, conquered it, and rose again.
For many the gift of Mary’s yes, her willingness to give birth to Jesus, that he as the Son of God became one with us so we can be one with him, was conceived, born, lived, died, and rose again, may be somewhat ho-hum to many, even Christians. They have heard the story so many times, or barely hear it proclaimed, and the thought being, “Well that’s all well and good for Jesus, but what about me?” That is exactly the point. Jesus entered our human condition exactly so we could go beyond mere existence, mere survival, but through participation in his death, we too can rise again with him and live our life with fullness and with joy today and all days into eternity!
How do we do this? We are invited to open up our hearts and minds to him, to know Jesus, who knows us better than we know ourselves. He who has called us by name, even before our birth. We do this just as Mary did. By opening ourselves up to the invitation of God’s blessing that he pours out on all of us, the good and bad alike. We say yes to his invitation. Each yes is a recognition of the gift of the Incarnation and the Resurrection. Each yes is an embrace of the wonderful gift, that through our participation with Jesus, we share in his divinity.
Our yes with Jesus is lived out each day. We spend time silently with him in prayer. We become aware and acknowledge with thanksgiving how he is already working and present to us in our daily lives. We say yes when we are given the blessing of interruptions and opportunities to serve others. We come to know him through his living Word offered in the Bible, reading, listening, praying and meditating on his Word so that he becomes a part of us. We experience him through opportunities of receiving healing in Reconciliation and during worship, receiving him in the Eucharist. We say, as we awaken each day, yes to his invitation to spend the day together, and allow God to happen in our lives. We walk step by faithful step! Say yes to Jesus today!
Photo: Close up of Heinrich Hofmann’s Christ and the Rich Young Ruler, 1889
Link for the Mass readings for Monday, April 9, 2018: