25 March 2010

Brief Homily on the Annunciation

Today the Angel says to the Holy Virgin: “For with God all things are possible.” A week from today, the Virgin’s Son will say: “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You.”

Today His Mother prays: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word.” A week from today her Son will pray: “Nevertheless not my will by Yours be done.”

To serve the God for whom nothing is impossible is to learn the joy of submission to the Father and His will.

Mary’s “yes” brought her temporal shame.

You know what the neighbors said and thought about her - you know the pain that went through her heart at first when even her beloved Joseph looked on her with troubled eyes.

She was willing to endure temporal shame for she saw that she had a task to accomplish in bringing about the great rescue of all people. With a mother’s love she loved us so much as to give us a Redeemer. When she danced before her kinswoman Elizabeth, eyes flashing, and declared: “from now on all generations will call me blessed” - those were the words of a girl that was scorned and shamed in her own village. They were words of great faith. And they have come true.

As the Mother, so the Son.

Our Lord also - as we will celebrate next week - was willing to walk the way of shame, the way of the cross, in order to bring blessing to His brothers and sisters, to the whole human race.

Our first father, Adam, had taken humanity and given it to the devil and the heritage was death. Our blessed Lord came to take humanity from the devil and give it back to the Father and the heritage is a life that never ends.

So for the joy that was set before Him, the joy of returning YOU to the Father, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and now is set down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Your Brother, the Virgin’s Son, exalted and reigning over all - just as Gabriel had promised. This came about because He prayed and lived: “Thy will be done.” As we heard in tonight's epistle: "I have come to do Your will, O God!"

Will you join in the prayer?

Will you say that you are the Lord’s servant and that it can be to you as He wills?

Will you tell him to take your own will, your plans, your dreams, your ambitions and crucify them so that His perfect will instead be done in your life?

To offer that prayer is to say “yes” to the path of shame and suffering, of grief and sorrow.

Adam’s children flee that path, believing they were born only to satisfy their own desires, to be happy and content themselves. And so fleeing misery, they fall head-long into it. For the path to joy leads through suffering, even through death, but the end is life everlasting.

Everlasting Life that the Virgin’s Son brought down into our flesh.

Life that the Virgin’s Son won for us all the opportunity to share by His unbroken “yes” to the Father’s will.

Life that the Virgin’s Son showed to be stronger than death itself.

This is the Life that He would feed into you today at His table. It is not a life of release from suffering; it is not a life of release from shame in this world. But it is far more - a life of communion with the Father in the power of the Spirit through the presence of the Son - a life that will finally be vindicated in you as it was in Him, Your Brother.

Come to His table today and receive the gift that enables you to continually pray with the Blessed Virgin and through her sinless Son:

“Behold, the servant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to Your word. Not my will, but thine be done!” Amen.

Prayer of the Church: Annunciation

Let us pray for the whole Church of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their needs.

Father in heaven, on this Day Your people celebrate with great joy the incarnation of our Lord in the Virgin’s womb. Receive our praise and thanks for this manifestation of Your fathomless love toward us. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

King of Kings, You gave Your Son to rule over the house of David forever and to have a kingdom that never ends. Bless the work of Your church as she proclaims His gospel and work mightily through the Word to bring faith those who do not know You. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

Ruler of all, remember in Your kindness all who hold positions of public trust in our land. Preserve them in health and endow them with wisdom, courage and honor to serve our nation according to Your will. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

Lover of the human race, we commend to Your merciful love all those who are sick or suffering, the mourning, the poor, the needy, the imprisoned and all who struggle against addictions. Grant to each the healing and hope that can come only from You, learning to pray at all times: “Your will be done.” Lord, in Your mercy, R.

Giver of life, receive our thanks and praise for all the saints who have trusted in Your mercy and passed from this age to Your nearer presence, remembering especially today the holy, blessed ever Virgin Mary. Bring us to share with all Your saints the joys of the unending feast. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

Join our prayers with those of Your servants of every time and place and unite them in the ceaseless petitions of our great High Priest, Jesus Christ, our Lord, until He comes in power and great glory as victorious Lord of all. Through Him, with Him, in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is Yours, almighty Father, forever and ever. Amen.


Chris said...

I noticed you used the term "ever-virgin" for Mary. Have you been denounced yet as a closet Romanist by the synod? : )

William Weedon said...


I was denounced for that long ago. Striking that the *Treasury* also uses the term for the Blessed Virgin upon the Feast of Nativity, no less. A reading from St. John of Damascus...