The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; *O come, let us adore Him.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today the Church everywhere in the world celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation, the true feast of the Incarnation. Let us join our hearts and voices with all Christians everywhere on this glorious day when God entered our estate and captured us all in His warm embrace.
Find below a slightly edited excerpt from a homily by St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, a bishop who lived at the beginning of the third century.
Have a very blessed Feast of the Annunciation!
Today we celebrate one of the most sublime and fascinating events in the world’s history. Today strains of praise are sung joyfully – the light of the advent of Christ dawns upon His people. Today is a glad spring-time to us, and Christ, the Sun of righteousness, has beamed with a clear light around us, and has illumined our minds. Today Adam is made anew. Today the whole circle of the earth is filled with joy because God has made his tabernacle among men.
The patriarchs and prophets earnestly desired to see Him, and intently searched with the greatest care hoping to be eye-witnesses of Him, but of course they did not attain it. And some of them saw his pre-incarnate form as He appears to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua. Some, by visions, beheld Him in type, and darkly; others, again, were privileged to hear the divine voice through the medium of the cloud, and were favoured with sights of holy angels; Today the grace of God and the hope of the unseen shines through, a wonder transcending imagination, and makes a mystery that was kept hid from eternity plainly discernible to us.
Even in our discernment we face the mystery of the great King; it the mystery which is discerned by faith, and which cannot be searched out by officious curiosity; the mystery which is to be adored, not weighed; the mystery which is to be taken as a thing divine, and not measured. Through Mary at the moment of the Annunciation, Jesus began His human nature. Through Mary, He became a member of the human race. Through Mary, Jesus was given to the world for the salvation of mankind. Through Mary, the final Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. Through Mary, the perfect sacrifice and trespass offering came according to the Divine will of God the Father. Through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus came an end to the imperfect sacrifices and atoning offerings of bulls and goats, sheep and doves, and grain. Now that the former law is done away with, to establish the second, we are called to be sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all; we are to present ourselves to the Holy One as living sacrifices to prove His good acceptable and perfect will.
Mary, of all women in history, was privileged to bear the promised serpent head-crushing seed, the one through whom the nations would be blessed, the high priest like Melchizedek, the prophet like Moses, the King like David; yet greater than any of these.
This event had its origin in a small town in the mountains of Galilee. There lived a young virgin Israelite girl named Mary, a descendant of the royal blood of King David. She is living in her parent’s home and is engaged to be married, betrothed to a man Joseph, who also is of the same royal blood line.
It is to Mary the archangel Gabriel manifests himself luminously, bringing her the glad address, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured!”, and then later says, “thou hast found favour with God”. Something in this young woman’s heart had God’s attention and favour – no doubt some tender love, deep humility, and a practiced and fierce devotion to Yahweh.
While she scarcely had time to absorb the enormity of Gabriel’s words and let them unfold in all their significance she yields to the will of God with these simple words, “Behold the hand maiden of the Lord be it unto me according to your word.” Notice how immediate, willing and thoroughly submissive was her reply. What a beautiful picture of godliness and purity of heart this is.
And thus she received the word, and in the due time of the fulfillment according to the body’s course she brought forth the priceless pearl.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, may we see and hear a challenge for us to do the same – let God have His way with us so that we might be as his Body and individual members of it, the Word made flesh. Amen.