Liturgy Alive

The liturgical calendar 2020

FIFTH WEEK OF LENT THE LORD’S ANNUNCIATION

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Thursday March 25

 

FIFTH WEEK OF LENT

 

THE LORD’S ANNUNCIATION 

 

Introduction

            We celebrate today the solemn feast of the Annunciation. “Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” said the old missal. That was correct, in a way, for the angel came to announce glad tidings to Mary. “Annunciation of the Lord,” says the new missal. Yes, this is the day that the good news is announced that she will become the Mother of Jesus. It is Jesus who is announced. He will be “God-with-us” (1st reading), who comes to do God’s will by being with us and saving us (2nd reading). It’s Jesus’ day, but it’s also Mary’s day. With the same disposition to serve God and people as Jesus had, she says, I am fully ready to serve – “I am the handmaid of the Lord.” May these be our words too.

 

Opening Prayer

Our faithful God and Father,
you are indeed our “God-with-us.”
Your Son became one of us, human,
born of the Holy Spirit
and of the Virgin Mary.
He came to serve,
she was the humble handmaid.
Make us deeply aware, Lord,
that salvation began with service.
Make us ready to serve in love,
as Mary did, together with Jesus Christ,
your Son and our Lord for ever.

 

Reading 1: Is 7:10-14; 8:10

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
"I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!"
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people,
must you also weary my God?
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 "God is with us!"

 

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 40:7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 11

(8a and 9a) Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, "Behold I come."
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
"In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!"
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
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. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

 

Reading 2: Heb 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.
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.
By this "will," we have been consecrated
through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.

 

Verse Before the Gospel: Jn 1:14ab

The Word of God became flesh and made his dwelling among us; and we saw his glory.

 

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.

 

Intercessions

On this solemnity of the Annunciation, let us pray with Mary for the needs of the Church and of all people.

  • That the Church may always accept and carry out its vocation of proclaiming the Word of God faithfully and with zeal, we pray:
  • That with the Lord we may reach out with goodness and tender care to the weak and those suffering, we pray:
  • That those who have to take important decisions regarding the future of their life may, like Mary, see how they can best serve God and people, we pray:
  • That we may all become unaffected and humble enough to let God do great things through us, we pray:
  • That all in our Christian communities may be open enough to God’s Sprit to accept any task God asks of us, we pray:

Lord God, hear us as we ask you that with Mary we may seek your will in all we do. Grant this through her Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Prayer over the Gifts

Lord our God,
here are bread and wine
as signs of our willingness
to be available to you and to our neighbor.
As Jesus could come among people
because Mary was ready to serve,
so may your Son now be alive among us
because we open our hearts
to you and to those around us,
together with Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Prayer after Communion

Lord God, our Father,
you have announced also to us today
that your Son came among us
to be the our life and joy.
He has been with us
as your living word and our bread of life.
May we grow in his life
and, like Mary, by his word bring a message
of liberation and happiness
to those in search of life and meaning.
 We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

 

Blessing

“Here I am to do your will,” says Jesus. “Here I am as the handmaid of the Lord,” says Mary. May these be our words too. They are beautiful, but they are not easy. May God be our strength, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

 

Commentary

I am the handmaid of the Lord (v. 38a).

We celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. In the Gospel account, as we visualise the scene, always remember, the evangelist Luke was not giving an eye-witness’s account of the event. Luke attempts to present Mary as the favoured one of God – or the beloved of God – and how God reveals his plan to his Beloved and her willingness to be the Servant of God

In Nazareth, they called her Mary; in Heaven, she was known as the Beloved of God. Gospel gives her a third name, which the Christian community identified her with: the Servant of the Lord.

In the Gospel, Luke presents Mary calling herself as the Handmaid – the servant of God. This title does not mean— “a humble servant,” but it is a title of supreme honor that the Old Testament reserves to the great men faithful to God (this title was never given to a woman). Samuel, David, the prophets, the priests in the temple who night and day bless God (Ps 134:1-2) were called “servants of the Lord”. Whenever the Old Testament mentioned the name of Moses, the sacred author often added the title: “servant of the Lord.”

It is unlikely that Mary attributed to herself such a high title, although no one more than her deserved it certainly. It is more likely that the early Christian community—among whom she lived in prayer (Acts 1:14)—having contemplated in her the model of the faithful disciple, chose this biblical title to qualify her and has put it on her lips.

Then comes her famous response: Let it be done to me as you have said (v. 38b). It does not mean a resigned consent to the message of the angel. Instead, it expresses a joyful desire. On the lips of Mary, it reveals her anxiety to see the plan of the Lord realized in her.

Where God enters, joy always comes. The story, beginning with the ‘rejoice’, ends with the joyful exclamation of the Virgin ‘let it be done’. No one had understood God’s plan; David, Nathan, Solomon, the kings of Israel had not understood it. They all had posed their dreams before God and they expected from God to fulfil their dreams. Mary does not behave like them; she has not put any of her personal dreams or projects before God. She only asked him to clearly show the role he intends to entrust her. After having understood, she joyfully welcomed his will.

The angel and the Virgin are not the centre of this feast, but the Lord. The God who we feel is distant or absent from our lives— but with the announcement of his coming into the world—he reminds us that he cannot be happy in heaven without us.

Liturgical Calendar 2021

Liturgical Calendar 2020
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