Today we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception by which God allowed no stain of Adam’s original sin to touch Mary. So he prepared her to bear his son. Today’s Gospel recounts the familiar scene of the Annunciation. It is the Gospel passage that is most frequently read in the liturgy, and probably the Gospel scene most frequently represented in Christian art. Many recall it daily in the Angelus. This is most appropriate.
The scene puts before us the central mystery of our faith, the Incarnation of the Son of God. Our first reaction is adoration of Jesus within the womb of Mary. Then we consider the words of Mary herself, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word” (or will). This surrender to God’s will grow and characterize Mary throughout her life up to the death of Jesus on the cross. We pray that God will give us a share in the same readiness to do his will that he gave to Mary. So we will also in our way bring Christ into the world.
—Fr. Bob Bireley, SJ, is a member of the St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwatosa, WI.