THURSDAY, FIFTH WEEK OF LENT
SOLEMNITY OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF OUR LORD
Reading 1: Is 7:10-14, 8:10 Isaiah declares God’s plan for mankind…a child is to be born, who will be called Immanuel, a name which means ‘God is with us.’
Reading 2: Heb 10:4-10 Here I am! I come to obey your will…this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.
Gospel: Lk 1: 26-38 Luke gives an account of the Annunciation to Mary, and her response to Gods plan.
ABANDONING OURSELVES TO GOD’S WILL
In today’s first reading, we hear Isaiah appealing to Ahaz to put his trust in God. He offered Ahaz in the name of God, the sign of a son whose name would be “Immanuel” (God is with us). The message of Isaiah however was rejected by both, the king and the people. Neither the threat of doom, nor the promise of deliverance, was able to keep the kingdom of Judah from fleeing to Assyria for help against the Siro-Ephraimite alliance.
Are we facing a situation of intense stress right now? Maybe we are feeling the human impulse to do something practical, while the prophet within us is counseling faith in God. Finding ourselves in an impossible and sustained unpleasant situation, we may feel desperate to ‘do’ something to get out of it, when prayers seem to be doing nothing. But could it be that God is asking of us a surrender of our plans and strategies?
Maybe he would like us to learn to find peaceful trust in him, a trust that could turn our swirling, troubled minds into a place where we are happy and at rest in his presence, no matter how everything else may seem. This itself will work wonders for us, in living our daily lives. Let us recall the great deeds of our fathers in the faith – Abraham, Moses, Joshua, and many others who performed these wonders because of their mighty faith in God. Faith in the love and power of God may not alter the circumstances of life, but it will give us the confidence that God will have the last word and “that in everything, God works for good with those who love him.”
In the Gospel we learn of God’s loving plan to unite all things in Christ. The gift Mary made of herself to God, opened her to the workings of grace. It is the same with us. The more our gift of self to God is complete, the more open we will be to the plans of Christ for us, the more operative in our lives will be the graces we already possess. We will be united with Christin his oblation of himself to the Father, just as Mary was. Now, Christ’s oblation delivers him up to the divine will and especially to the sacrifice at Calvary. We do not know if Mary knew all that her ‘Yes’ would entail. But we do know that she was attentive to God’s voice and obeyed with docility. Did she stop to think what Joseph would say, what Joseph would think? No, she knew only God and his will. Once we know God’s will we must keep our eyes fixed on that. We should try not to look at secondary causes or effects. Accepting reality as it is, makes us more open to seeing the hand of Jesus in our current circumstances and events.
Mary’s ‘Yes’ at the annunciation has been abundantly spoken of, meditated upon, discussed about, but it still retains its magnetic charm, to engage our hearts and minds again and again. It must surely have been an overwhelming moment for her, to offer herself without reservation of any kind, when she did not yet fully understand or comprehend. It is the same intensity which gripped her heart as she stood at Calvary. She stands tall as a relevant example of working with God’s will, courageously and trustingly, finding her peace in it and drawing others to experience its depths.
We too are called to be such figures in our world of today, struck by so much of insecurity, sickness, violence, greed and injustice. As Christians, we must shine as oases of peace. More than words or even deeds perhaps, our compassion and understanding in dealing with people we do not understand or gel with, and situations that leave us ruffled, will bring the desired light and life to ourselves and to others too. This said and done however, we do not expect to be completely freed from suffering and pain; it just means that whatever we may go through, it will be within the circle of God’s warmth and peace. Let Mary teach us!
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 40: 7-11 See, I have come, Lord, to do your will.
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