Faith Daily | 20 December 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - Advent Three APBA p 468
you have made us and all things to serve you:
come quickly to save us,
so that wars and violence shall end
and your children may live in peace,
honouring one another with justice and love;
through Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord,
who lives with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 1: 28-38
28And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’*29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ 34Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’*35The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born* will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.’ 38Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Graeme Curnow
The Annunciation - not a word in common use these days. Have you seen recent viral videos of couples exploding pink and blue smoke bombs or of a large monster truck revving full throttle with coloured exhaust coming out of its tailpipe? If so, you may have witnessed the newest and flashiest pregnancy trend—the Gender Reveal. The Annunciation out-does this 21st C. vanity.
It is the supernatural experience where Mary learns that she is to bear the Son of God. This is indeed a "fiat" but, it marks her acceptance of God's will and the beginning of the Incarnation, when Jesus took on human nature, beginning in its lowliest, most vulnerable sense.
Mary is shown great respect by the Angel Gabriel. She is a willing instrument of God and accepts the vocation God gives her. The Annunciation is a central point in human history, only possible because Mary said "Yes".
The Magnificat is the poem with which Mary responds to the Annunciation and celebrates the power of God.
Some feminists interpret Mary's behaviour as demonstrating passive subordination to male power. In 1952, Simone de Beauvoir (atheist author of "The Second Sex, 1949) wrote: "for the first time in human history the mother kneels before her son: she freely accepts her inferiority. This is the masculine victory consummated in the cult of the Virgin". Modern female intellectuals have a different interpretation (ref: "We are not Beauvarians" or "Adieu Simone! Les derniers heures du feminisme".) They don't see Mary as powerless, but a woman who makes a free choice to accept God's task for her and her role is not demeaning. Some suggest the Annunciation emphasises the status of women, since God enlists the help of a woman to create the Messiah as fully human, giving men only a later part to play, contributing to His nurture and upbringing.
Pope Benedict XVI, while he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, wrote that "Without Mary, God's entrance into history would not achieve its intended purpose. That is, the very thing that matters most in the Creed would be left unrealized ie: God's being a God with us, and not only a God in and for himself.... [Mary] is an indispensable, central component of our faith in the living, acting God". ....
It is our role to emulate Mary. To be open to God’s will. God does not need us, but He lets us work with Him. What a privilege! With the Annunciation, we see the great things that God can bring when we cooperate with Him.