Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. Today's Mass Readings - Tuesday, March 25, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10
10 The Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying: 11 “Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!” 12 But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the Lord!” 13 Then Isaiah said: “Listen, O house of David! Is it not enough for you to weary people, must you also weary my God? 8: 10 Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means “With us is God!”
P S A L M - Psalm 40:7-8, 8-9, 10, 11
R: Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
6 [7] Sacrifice or oblation you wished not, but ears open to obedience you gave me. 7 [8] Holocaust or sin-offerings you sought not; then said I, “Behold I come.” (R) “In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, 8 [9] to do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!” (R) 9 [10] I announced your justice in the vast assembly; I did not restrain my lips, as you, O Lord, know. (R) 10 [11] Your justice I kept not hid within my heart; your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of; I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth in the vast assembly. (R)
2ND READING - Hebrews 10:4-10
Brothers and sisters: It is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats take away sins. For this reason, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight in. Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll, Behold, I come to do your will, O God.’ ” First he says, “Sacrifices and offerings, holocausts and sin offerings, you neither desired nor delighted in.” These are offered according to the law. Then he says, “Behold, I come to do your will.” He takes away the first to establish the second. 10 By this “will,” we have been consecrated through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
The word of God became flesh and made his dwelling among us; and we saw his glory.
Luke 1:26-38
26 The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. 32 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, 33 and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” 35 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. 36 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; 37 for nothing will be impossible for God.” 38 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.


Religion, they say, is man’s search for God. But the God of the Bible is different. Christianity has a radical proposal. The Christian God is the God who searches for man. He longs for him. His is the initiative. The biblical God is a God who pursues.

       In the words of the English poet Francis Thompson, “God is the Hound of Heaven” (a hound is a breed of dog with a strong sense of smell, relentless in its pursuit of subjects). If the image of God as a hound in pursuit is scandalizing, what is more disconcerting is the courtesy of God in His pursuit. He is God. He doesn’t need to ask. He can just demand attendance and presence in His banquet. But no. He invites, He asks, He proposes. He risks the embarrassment of rejection.

       Today is the feast of the Lord’s Annunciation. The Fathers of the Church have long seen this scene in Luke’s Gospel as God making a proposal to Mary to become the spouse of the Spirit, and Mary giving her free yes, her fiat, to that proposal.

       I remember being in a plane bound to Davao for a talk. During the flight, a Korean approached the flight attendant, asked for the microphone, and proposed marriage to his girlfriend. The guy said to the girl, “I have something to ask you and you’re free to choose from the four possible answers. You can say ‘yes,’ ‘of course,’ ‘why not?’ or ‘absolutely’.” So much for freedom, huh? The choices left no room for the possibility of rejection.

       Why did God take the risk of rejection? Because that is the way of genuine love. If we were created in a way that we cannot say no to God, then in the same measure, our yes to Him is of no value. God, the courteous hound of heaven, longs for our free and genuine yes.

       May Mary’s yes to God be our own. May that free invitation and gracious response at the scene of the Annunciation be repeated over and over again in human history. Mama Mary, pray for us! Fr. Joel Jason
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: What is God calling you to do now? What is your answer?
I say yes to You, Lord. May Your will be done in my life. May I follow Mama Mary’s example of faithful obedience to Your call.

St. Dismas, pray for us.

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