Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. Traditionally celebrated on March 25 (9 months before Christmas), when that date falls during Holy Week, the feast is moved to the first Monday after Easter Week. So, let me be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas this year! In the first reading, we see the prophesy from Isaiah: “The virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us!’ ”
The readings today all point toward Mary’s fiat, which we see in Luke 1, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Perhaps our Responsorial Psalm for today, taken from Psalm 40, sums it up best. “Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.”
Mary has many titles in Catholic tradition. I think that one of my favorite ones, though not an official “title,” is “the first Christian.” Mary was the first one to truly accept Christ. She experienced a closeness with Christ that no one else ever would or could. Many non-Catholic Christian traditions have tried to diminish the role of Mary. Some see her as just an interchangeable cog in God’s big wheel. Perhaps you’ve heard something like,”Mary was just a vessel.” Really? The womb that carried the Son of God, the breasts that nursed Him, the woman who loved every moment of His life, “just a vessel?” Mary’s role can never be diminished. Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant. She said yes at the Annunciation, and every other moment in her life. Do we?
Father, we thank you for the example of Mary, always saying yes to Your will. May we imitate her with our "Yes" today and always. Amen.
The A Minute in the Church series answers many questions people have about Catholic belief about Mary. Get the four volume set at www.GusLloyd.com.