Annunciation – March 25, 2020 – Tucson (email only)
“Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call His name Jesus.” Words take from today’s Holy Gospel for the feast of the Annunciation
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Love always produces some good effect or bestows a gift on the one loved. For example, we take care of those we love and make sure that they are well looked after. Couples in love will exchanges gifts on the day of their anniversary to commemorate the day when their relationship began.
Love bears fruit, love produces something exterior to show the interior reality, their interior union of hearts. In marriage, the love of spouses bears fruit with and in their children. The children are the incarnation of the love between husband and wife. Parents can pick up their children and look them in the eyes and see the product of their love and see their love continue on into new creatures in whom their love continues for future years.
Today, March 25th is a very important day for all of us Christians. March 25th is the anniversary between God and Mary, between a divine parent and a human parent, between the divine and the human. “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call His name Jesus.” Today is the anniversary in which the Divine is espoused to the human in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Today the divine is espoused to the human in the person of the Word, 2 natures, in 1 person: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the father, full of Grace and truth.” Truly this is the most important event of history, God became Man and dwelt among us. He took on our good: our human nature, our human intellect, our human will, our human way of being without changing His Divinity. But just as importantly, the Word took on our weakness: He took on our frailties, and He took on our sins, though He remained sinless. Like a marriage is “for better or for worse”, God engaged Himself in our lives and He truly became our brother in His human nature.
And like we saw in the beginning of the sermon, love bears fruit. St. Gabriel, announced to Mary, God’s proposal for the marriage of the divine with the human which would produce the fruit of their love in her womb. Like a man proposes to a woman, God in His humility, proposed to Mary His love for her and for humanity. And thankfully for our salvation, Mary said “I do”, I love you, “Fiat”, “may it be done according to your word.” She expressed the accord of her will, in which resides love and from which determines our moral life. As Original Sin entered the world through the sin committed be the will of Adam and Eve who said “non fiat / may it not be done”, today Mary began the restoration of the human to the divine. Today the Divine proposed itself to Humanity in the marriage of the Incarnation and today the Human, in the Blessed Mary, said “I do.”
And from today’s Marriage, between the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Divine, a child was born 9 months later on December 25th. Love produces good, love bears fruit, and the love of God for man and of Mary for God bore fruit in the Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ. God provided the divinity and Mary provided the humanity of Our Lord. And this Divine and Human Child of their love, was/is/and will be the manifestation of the marriage between God and the Blessed Virgin Mary and through her, the marriage of God and humanity. This singular event in history, we call the Incarnation, the taking on of our human flesh by the divine makes visible the spiritual reality of love. The Incarnation makes visible the love of God for man and the love of Mary in response to God. At this moment in history, we were all still in sin and we had not yet been redeemed by the cross. No one was capable of properly loving God in return. But there was one exception. One creature had been spared the stain of Original Sin. One creature was so perfect and so beautiful, that she alone was worthy to be the Mother of God. One creature that God had envisioned from the beginning to be His Mother. And that woman was the Immaculate Conception, the Blessed Virgin conceived without Original Sin as the Blessed Pius IX defined in his encyclical “Ineffabilis Deus” in 1854: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of Original Sin.” From this grace given to Mary, she was fully and perfectly able to respond in the name of all humanity to God’s proposal. She is the New Eve who is truly the Mother of all the Living. Where Eve brought sin, sickness, and death; Mary brings God’s forgiveness, health, and life.
Today is truly a day for rejoicing in this marriage of the Incarnation, the marriage of God with humanity in the Person of the Logos, the Word, Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Love of God for man has been made present to humanity, in flesh, in time, in a place, and was born of the Perpetual Virgin Mary. And through the Sacraments that bring the grace won for us by the Divine-Man, we too enter the marriage of the Divine and Human, we enter the family of God as His children. Through the Sacraments we truly participate in this marriage. Through Mary’s fiat, through her “I Do”, Mary has given birth to us through grace and we too share in this love. Through the Sacraments, we too are mystically united to God as His Grace is poured in our souls: as our intellects are lifted to contemplation of the divine through faith, as our wills are lifted up in hope of our eternal reward in heaven, and in charity which is the union with our beloved Heavenly Father.
Today, particularly for us still on our pilgrimage towards Heaven and also, through this Sacramental Eucharistic fast that we are undergoing during this current pandemic, we must be people of hope in imitation of our Blessed Mother. The Marriage of the divine and the human in the Incarnation should stir up our joy and desire for the reward of this glorious event of the Incarnation. God wants His love to be fruitful in us through His gift of Sanctifying Grace. Just as a married couple sometimes has to go a time away from their love, so too we are currently being asked by obedience to endure our love in the Sacrament of the Eucharist while separated. But with hope comes the ardent desire for our future union, and this is the key for us to make a good spiritual communion – the ardent desire to be united to Our Lord and the ardent desire to embrace Him. And through God’s goodness, this desire is made efficacious to receive an increase of grace and divine blessings in our soul, to increase our knowledge of heavenly realities, to increase our desire to be with our beloved, and union with God. Mary is our model of hope in her Fiat: she said “May it be done to me according to thy word.” Her will was inclined to whatever God desired and so our wills also must trust in God’s goodness in directing us according to His providence.
My dear faithful, today is a tremendous day of rejoicing for us in which we commemorate the most important event of history, the day on which Mary said her Fiat, Mary said her “I do”, and on which the Word was made flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. May we rejoice on this occasion in which God engaged Himself definitively and concretely in the life of us humans as He took on our flesh for our salvation. May this feast bring us tremendous joy and hope as we place us hope in God so that the good He has begun in us, He may bring it to perfect completion.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.