Gospel: LK 1:26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“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, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.
When I was first ordained, I was fortunate to take a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Among the many places we visited was Nazareth, where Jesus grew up. There is a beautiful church called the Church of the Annunciation. When you walk in, you will see many different mosaics on the walls about Mary. She is depicted in each mosaic as you would see her in that native country. For example, Portugal would show her as Our Lady of Fatima. France would show her as Our Lady of Lourdes. Mexico as Our Lady of Guadalupe which we celebrate today. There must have been a dozen countries giving honor to Mary in their native way. It was wonderful to see.
The Scripture for today is about the Annunciation. This feast is often passed over because it is always in Lent. The date is March 25th. But I feel that it is just as important as the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption. When Mary said yes to the angel, our salvation through Jesus began. The ancient prophesies about the Messiah finally became a reality through Mary saying “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Whether we honor Mary as Our Lady of Guadalupe, or any other expression, she is our spiritual mother and deserves our unfailing gratitude.
Lord Jesus, as we honor your mother today, please give us the courage to say yes as she did. Help us to follow your example and answer your command to serve one another. Amen.
Rev. Fr. Anthony Testa
Pastor – Our Lady of Guadalupe American National Catholic Church