Ordinarily many of us on this day, would be attending Mass to celebrate the great Solemnity of the Annunciation, that moment when the Archangel Gabriel was sent to Mary, to announce to her the great task which God asked her to do. Sadly, because of the restrictions we are now living under, this is not possible, and we are being asked instead to stay in our homes.
However the gospel today tells us that the angel Gabriel was sent to Mary in Nazareth, where she was living, and many of the great artists down the ages have interpreted and depicted this moment as having taken place while Mary was in her home. How appropriate it is then, as we are enduring these difficult times, that the message of this day is being received by us in our homes.
The whole encounter is one of exchange. The news which the angel brings is at first received with concern and bewilderment and many of us are similarly concerned and bewildered by the sudden and disturbing changes which have taken place with regard to our ordinary lives. But there are words of reassurance too, of not to fear or be afraid and the whole structure of what is taking shape, is being built by Luke, to take us along a pathway of understanding the mystery of what is about to unfold.
Into our very confused and uncertain world comes the real and certain presence of God as one like us. He will come to us because of Mary's "Yes" amid her uncertainty and fear. She speaks for all humanity at this moment and her affirmation, her "fiat" is framed with an acknowledgement that in accepting this pathway she opens the door to a way of living which places at its heart the role of service or of "diakonia". It will become the way through which the incarnate word unfolds.
All of us in this time of uncertainty are being asked to accept new and different roles. We are being called upon, in our homes, to find a new perspective of how as disciples, we can continue to live the "diakonia" of Jesus. It may involve big changes to our way of life, but let the message come to us as it came to Mary: let the Spirit of the Lord come to us, and let us receive it anew with open and generous hearts to serve God and each other through our "Yes".
We remember all who are suffering and are anxious at this time and we pray to the Lord for our loved ones as through the intercession of Mary, Heath of the sick and Comforter of the afflicted. we say Hail Mary...
The Annunciation: Leonardo da Vinci