The Annunciation

Today Catholics celebrate the Annunciation, where the angel Gabriel was sent to Mary and with Mary’s yes, she conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit. Notice how it’s March 26th, 9 months before December 25th (It is usually celebrated on March 25th but that was a Sunday this year). The following is the tale from the Gospel of Luke:

“In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “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 called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.”

-Luke 1:26-38

And with that, I have a few quick reflections to share with you:

This, even more so than Christmas, was the actual moment when Jesus came to us. From this day forth, Jesus was growing in the womb of Mary. Think of the greeting between Elizabeth and Mary, where both Jesus and St. John the Baptist were in the wombs of their mothers (Luke 1:39-45).

God could have come to the world in so many different ways, but He chose to come by perhaps the most normal way possible. The only “supernatural” signs were the appearance of the angel Gabriel and Mary conceiving by the Holy Spirit. For anyone other than Mary and Joseph, these things would have went by unnoticed, even though GOD CAME INTO THE WORLD! (It’s really exciting, please excuse the caps.)

Jesus was conceived. He did not even start out as a fully grown baby. No, God reduced Himself not only to a human, but to mere cells in His mother’s womb, the same way that the rest of us begin our lives. God depended on Mary’s body to nourish and protect Him through those 9 months. And if Mary was alive in the United States today, she could have had an abortion and killed Jesus legally. Think about THAT for a second. Jesus could have been aborted if He was born in the USA anytime after 1973. Of course, the Holy Family had their own problems to avoid, notably when King Herod had all newborns around the time of Jesus’ birth killed. Anyways, I think that in and of itself tells us that God is pro-life. He could have been aborted when He was in the womb, so thank the Lord that He wasn’t.

Emmanuel. God is with us.

And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is from age to age
to those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm,
dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones
but lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things;
the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped Israel his servant,
remembering his mercy,
according to his promise to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
-The Canticle of Mary

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