thoughts and observations on the daily readings
Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
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Good mothers and fathers love their children from the start. They do not really know the child, but they know they love him or her. Parents also know that the grace of that first, intense, love must continue to grow and evolve. After all, love must be mutual to be complete – a communion of heart and mind. The essential ingredient in a healthy, authentically loving relationship is trust. Parents protect, feed, clothe, teach, and engage their child. The child who grows learning to trust in the loving care of good parents is a child well prepared to respond and grow in love.
On the other hand, the lesson of trust takes time, hard work, and consistency. Parents know that toddlerhood and teenagerhood and every age in between will see a struggle with willfulness and complaints. Trust does not come easily to human beings. The original sin, our delusion that we are or can be the masters of our own fate, runs strong in us.
Divine love is trustworthy. The Holy Scriptures teach us over and over of the fidelity of God Who creates us, loves us, saves us. This Good God longs for our free response of love – a trusting love. It’s probably fair to say that for most of us, this summons to trust is the most difficult aspect of discipleship.
With that in mind, it should be no surprise that the truth of trust is at the heart of the Paschal mystery. Jesus is the Revelation of the Living God and the revelation of who we are called to be – fully Divine and fully human, he reveals our truest self to us. And this Jesus lives absolute trust and love. In life he never craves or seeks wealth or security. He never falls into the trap of ego or tries to “Lord it over” others. He Who in fact is Lord offers himself in humble service. And in death, in His self-offering, we see the ultimate revelation of trust – the truth praised in the passage from Hebrews.
If this model of Jesus is at the heart of the gospel, the annunciation passage is a prophetic “pointer” to that heart. Here at the outset of Luke’s Gospel, we have a true Daughter of Zion. She receives the announcement of the good news with trust and offers nothing less than herself. In this, the Blessed Virgin Mary is herself a prophet. And like the prophets, she will go on to burst forth in praise of the Lord and gratitude for His loving mercy. Mary knew the truth proclaimed by Isaiah and by the angel – that God was with her. She trusted that presence and the result is that she participated in God’s great work of reconciliation and salvation.
May she intercede for each one of us on this Feast, teach us to trust in her son, and be strengthened by the truth that God is with us!