The Feast of the Annunciation, is really our feast day, for this is, in a sense, when it all began for us. Today commemorates the time when God entered into our world and chose Mary to be the mother of his son, Jesus, the one whose life has changed ours.
It is interesting that the first words the angel Gabriel speaks to Mary are “Do not be afraid.” Sometime after the Annunciation, the angel appears to Joseph and starts his greeting with “Do not be afraid.” Rather appropriate words for the situation in which we find ourselves these days.
There can be a tendency to romanticize the Annunciation scene and all the events leading up to the birth of Jesus, but a careful reading of the Gospels shows us that those were challenging and frightening times for Mary and Joseph.
Earlier this week, when Larry Tucker and I addressed the Marist community through our videos, I used this quote from Water from the Rock: Marist Spirituality Flowing in the Spirit of Marcellin Champagnat:
Marists, therefore, have a growing relationship with Mary as our Sister in Faith, a woman with dust on her feet, a woman who was disturbed and puzzled by God, who was challenged to trust and give without knowing all the answers, whose faith life was a journey. (Water from the Rock # 29)
Surely, we are disturbed and puzzled these days. We are overwhelmed with conflicting information which may heighten our anxiety even more. In this age of information, we may be shocked to discover that some important questions do not have answers - yet. Like Mary (and Joseph), we are being “challenged to trust and give without knowing all the answers.”
All of this may sound nice, but, in truth, trusting and giving are hard to do, but as the spiritual descendants of Mary and Joseph and their son, Jesus, we have both witness and hope.
- Br. Hank Hammer, FMS