Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Feast Day: Congregation for the Clergy, Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

By Deacon Keith Fournier
March 25th, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

With this greeting and with this happy annunciation, in its truest sense, the Gospel is initiated.  The angel's first word is 'joy': the new joy that comes from God, from his irrecoverable gift for us and through us and amongst us.  Or better yet, this joy comes from 'Emanuel - God is with us' and He invites us to participate in divine communion with Him.

VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - As is our custom on Sundays and Feasts, we are honored to present to our readers and viewers throughout the globe the reflections on the Feast of the Solemnity of the Lord sent from the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy:

*****

"Referring to the Lord's words to Acaz, Isaiah wrote, 'Ask Yahweh your God for a sign' (Is 7:10) and going on further he related the Divine Promise 'The Lord will give you a sign' (Is 7:14).  The prophet's text is enclosed in the 'tension' between the human desire for a sign on the one hand, and on the other, the explicit Will of God to give a sign. 

This was the sign that was promised and longed for; it alludes to the Covenant that constitutes the entire story and the drama of the Old Testament.  The creation objectively represents the first sign of God's Covenant.  At the end of each day of creation in the Genesis account, God's satisfaction with His work is recorded: 'And God saw that it was good' (Gen 1:10).

If man's rise amongst creatures clearly tells us who is the interlocutor in God's Covenant, then the subsequent history of God with the people of Israel, testified by Isaiah, expresses another dimension of this Covenant; the Lord is totally involved with man.  The life of man, as Scripture testifies, doesn't represent an occasional episode in the cosmos. 

Of course, one can not remain silent about the painful human perception of our ambivalence before God.  Man recognises that he is constituent of both the desire for the Infinite, as promised, and also his own sins such that sometimes he doubts his own ultimate goodness.

God's response sounds both surprising and extraordinary 'the Lord Himself will give you a sign' (Is 7:14).  God has real power over human history and He does not abandon it.  He is the Lord who acts really and efficaciously in human history.  God does not revoke His initial plan.  On the contrary, he fulfils it going as far as to introduce man himself into that 'rest' that is the crowning act of His creation. 

It is for this end that Mary's great 'yes' was generated, to make certain that the last word on mankind, on life, on the world, on history and on evil itself is Hers!  Man exists as a precious asset and he is always regarded as a precious asset by God.  God is so humble that He desires to leave Himself enriched by the gift that we are for Him.  He is amazingly great enough to want the smallest 'yes' that we can give Him.

The results of God's salvific will manifest itself definitively from the design of the Covenant: 'God is with us'.  The gift of the Son represents the ultimate epiphany of that which God had started in the creation and then in the Covenant.  The Covenant is in fact, the sight of God's communion with man and of man with God. 

God's Will for man is so powerful that He is intimately attached to the human creature to assume human nature Himself. Therefore, this means that God's original dream for man, of which Acaz said 'I will not put the Lord to the test', is realised at the point that man becomes 'like God'.  In this exchange, the Incarnation of God and the divinisation of man to which God calls us, is the most sublime expression of communion with Him.

The letter to Hebrews that the Church has placed in the liturgy for this Solemnity affirms: 'And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all' (Heb 10:10).  The crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ, which is the accomplishment of the unique revelatory dynamism of God, tells us of the irrevocability of the 'sign' given and of its extraordinary plan.  We are made to participate in the Holiness of God Himself: 'divinae naturae consortes'!

St Luke, narrating the dialogue of the Annunciation, refers to the sublime works pronounced by the angel, 'The Lord is with you' (Lk 1:28). This phrase becomes the specific reason from which the Blessed Virgin Mary is invited to joy.  It represents the start of the new Presence of God and is the reason why Gabriel greeted Mary saying to her: 'Rejoice Mary' (Lk 1:28). 

With this greeting and with this happy annunciation, in its truest sense, the Gospel is initiated.  The angel's first word is 'joy': the new joy that comes from God, from his irrecoverable gift for us and through us and amongst us.  Or better yet, this joy comes from 'Emanuel - God is with us' and He invites us to participate in divine communion with Him.

In Mary and with Mary, God tells every one of us today, one more time and for ever: 'It is good that you exist. I will fill you with every Grace'.  This is the certain sign, His Son is amongst us.

Citations of
Is 7,10-14: www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9apphcg.htm
Is 8,10: www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9apoooh.htm
He 10,4-10: www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9ahyhsj.htm
Lc 1,26-38: www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9bih1oa.htm

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)