MARY: THE HANDMAID OF THE LORD
(A biblical reflection on The Solemnity of THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD, Thursday, 25 March 2021)
Gospel Reading: Luke 1:26-38
First Reading: Isaiah 7:10-14; Psalms: Psalm 40:7-11; Second Reading: Hebrews 10:4-10
The Scripture Text
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus.
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38 RSV)
“Here I am, Lord; I come to do Your will” (Responsorial Psalm)
This refrain echoes in the hearts of all those across time who have desired to be faithful to God. In particular, it echoes Mary’s “yes” to God and her consent to become the mother of God’s divine Son, and Jesus’ “yes” that He would take on human flesh from her. Their consent to the Father is a sign to us of the marvelous work that can be achieved even in us when our hearts echo these words.
Mary’s consent to God flows from her openness to His grace. She was a member of the people God chose to be His own and was a faithful daughter of Zion. In a most generous way, she heeded God’s word spoken through the prophets and embraced the law He gave to guide His people. She had an “open ear” (Psalm 40:6), a desire to hear God and do His will. She lived what the psalmist proclaimed: “I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8). Because this was Mary’s desire, she could say “yes” to God regardless of the unforeseen consequences.
Mary’s consent also reflects the life she received as a member of God’s chosen people. She saw herself as part of that people and did not conceal God’s justice, love or faithfulness in her own heart but through her faithful submission to God’s plan announced it in “the great congregation” (Psalm 40:9-10). She knew that her fortunes rose and fell with those of the people God called to Himself, and so every word God spoke to them she claimed as a word for herself. She received life from and through this people, and thus nourished, she could give her consent to God.
On this day when the Church celebrates Mary’s “yes” to God, we rejoice, for her consent brought forth God’s Son who has saved the world. God’s works was accomplished with her cooperation because she listened to and embraced His word and lived as part of the people He called to Himself. Let us rejoice in Mary’s “yes” and unite ourselves with her and all those throughout history who have desired to do God’s will. And may these words echo in our hearts: “Here I am, Lord; I come to do Your will.”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to hear Your call to love and service. Help me say “yes” to You. And send Your Holy Spirit to me, so that Jesus may be born in my heart. Amen.
Jakarta, 24 March 2021
A Christian Pilgrim