Handmaid of the Lord

Luke 1: 26-38
Is 7: 10-14; 8: 10 / Ps 40: 7-11 / Heb 10: 4-10

‘I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’

Her virtues that we emulate
Will shield us from all tribulation;
Today let’s pause to meditate
Her ‘Yes’ that led to our redemption

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; His kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” Mary replied, “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:26-38)

Reflection

Pledged to be married soon to Joseph, Mary would have been placed in great danger by the angel’s news that she would become pregnant (out of wedlock). But this awesome news that she would become the mother of “the Most High”, Who would “reign on the throne of His father David,” and participate in the fulfillment of a divine prophecy was a special privilege that a simple village girl like her could hardly refuse. After hearing these revelations, Mary could only accept in total submission.

The Church celebrates this day as the Feast of the Annunciation. It is a special day worth commemorating because this day in human history marks the Incarnation of the promised Redeemer, Jesus Christ. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) It is the day when the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity took place, the same day that the great news was announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

We do not know if Mary was well versed with the prophetic writings, particularly the words of Isaiah in the first reading: “…the Lord himself will give you a sign. The virgin is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.” (Isa 7:14) But her canticle in vs. 46 to 55 revealed her ecstatic feelings to her cousin Elizabeth, knowing that she occupied a unique place in the whole of mankind, because she was now bearing the Son of God. And yet this special honor in no way affected her humble disposition. She even took pains riding a donkey to visit her aged cousin, and stayed to serve her for three months until Elizabeth delivered her own baby.

The Annunciation highlights what we admire most in our Mother Mary: her humility, submission, and obedience to God’s will. Her example clearly defines the meaning of discipleship, which all followers of her Son should strive to emulate.

We thank You, Father for the example of our Mother Mary, providing a beacon for us in times of darkness and trials, for no woman ever felt the pains that she bore. Amen.

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