(Monday, 8 April 2024. Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14, 8:10, Ps. 40:7-11, Hebrews 10:4-10, Luke 1:26-38)

Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

Today, the church remembers the day Mary consented to God’s Divine Proposal. On this day, that great miracle happened: through the powerful overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, the baby Jesus, the word of God, became flesh inside Mary’s womb. This baby would spend nine months in Mary’s womb and be born on Christmas Day. Today’s feast is usually celebrated on the 25th of March, but given that it fell during Holy Week this year, it has been shifted to today. What does the Annunciation teach us about God, and what lessons are contained in today’s readings?

1. We Serve a God Who Plans: The Annunciation teaches us that God plans. As far back as the time of Adam and Eve, God already had Mary in mind. “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15). Today’s first reading from the book of Isaiah contains a prophecy about Mary. “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14). St. Paul says: “When the fullness of time had come (meaning that there was an arrangement for it), God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law.” (Galatians 4:4-5). Long before you were born, God already knew you and planned for you (Cf. Jeremiah 1:5, Jeremiah 29:11)

2. Ask God to Show You His Plans for Your Life: Just as He sent an Angel to Mary, God reveals His plans through dreams (like the case of Joseph), visions (like Zechariah and other Biblical figures), directly (like Jeremiah and other prophets). God also speaks through the scriptures, spiritual guides, parents, teachers or even our friends. You will not need an interpreter to explain when God speaks because you will feel it deep within you.

3. God Does Not Force His Way Into Our Lives: While the specific details of God’s plans may vary from person to person, His ultimate plan for all humans is “to know Him, love Him, serve Him and be happy with Him in heaven.” (From the Penny Catechism).  God’s plan for you is to live a righteous life. Why did God send an Angel to Mary? St. Augustine answered: “God created us without our consent, but He will not save us without our consent.” We always have a choice to say “Yes” or “No” to God’s plans for our lives.

4. Great Things Happen When We Say Yes to God: God wants to do great and wonderful things through you, but He needs you to say ‘Yes’ like Mary. “Behold, I am God’s handmaid; let His will be done in me.” Today’s Second Reading from the Book of Hebrews says: “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, burnt offerings and sin offerings you take no pleasure but Behold, I have come to do your will.” It is not easy to let go of what we want. It is not easy to put God first in all our decisions. It wasn’t easy for Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane. He wanted to drop the cross but said “yes” to God. However, once we say “Yes” to God, we become God’s instruments of salvation in our world. St. Teresa of Avila says: “Christ has no body now but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks with compassion on the world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.” God wants to make the world better and needs you to make it happen.

5. Do Not Be Afraid: Today’s final lesson comes from the Angel’s message to Mary. Do not be afraid to say yes to God. Do not be afraid of letting your light shine. You must not be like everyone else.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, speak to me, make me understand your plans, and help me to say yes to you every day by doing only what you want. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen

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