Isaiah 7:10-14, 8:10

The Lord spoke to Ahaz and said, “Ask the Lord your God for a sign for yourself coming either from the depths of Sheol or from the heights above.” “No,” Ahaz answered, “I will not put the Lord to the test.”

Then Isaiah said:

Listen now, House of David:
are you not satisfied with trying the patience of men
without trying the patience of my God, too?
The Lord himself, therefore,
will give you a sign.
It is this: the maiden is with child
and will soon give birth to a son
whom she will call Emmanuel,
a name which means, “God-is-with-us”.


Hebrews 10:4-10

Bulls’ blood and goats’ blood are useless for taking away sins, and this is what Christ said, on coming into the world:

You who wanted no sacrifice or oblation,
prepared a body for me.
You took no pleasure in holocausts or sacrifices for sin,
then I said,
just as I was commanded in the scroll of the book,
“God, here I am! I am coming to do your will.”

Notice that he says first: You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the oblations, the holocausts and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them; and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to obey your will. He is abolishing the first sort to replace it with the second. And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.

Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, “Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you!” She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, “Mary do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?” “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,” the angel answered, “and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.” “I am the handmaid of the Lord,” said Mary, “let what you have said be done to me.” And the angel left her.

Today we celebrate the Annunciation of the Lord, which is actually a celebration of Jesus’ first disciple - his mother Mary. A disciple is one who follows his master. He is one who chooses his master’s way of life over his own, because he sees in his master’s way of life the path to something greater.

Today we celebrate the decision of Mary to follow God’s will. It is important to note that Mary could have said ‘no’ to the angel. Because we know that she could have said ‘no’, but chose to say ‘yes’ instead, we know that she was really free to make this choice.

In addition, Mary’s ‘yes’ to the angel (and to God) was a complete, total ‘yes’. She didn’t say “Yes, but…”; she simply said “yes” and accepted the whole deal. Of course she didn’t accept it with no questions asked, but the point is that she accepted the whole deal.

Mary was a virgin throughout her life. She had consecrated herself and her virginity to the Lord. Her true spouse is the Holy Spirit, and she was faithful to this spouse throughout her life. We see that God too was faithful, not just to Mary, but to his people, for the angel mentioned that “his reign will have no end”. God is faithful to his people, and calls us to be faithful to him as well, just like his servant Mary was.

There are many kinds of love relationships: between friends, between parents and children, between husbands and wives, between God and us. Whatever love relationship there exists, when we are able to freely choose to enter into it and remain it in, when we choose to give totally of ourselves and receive totally of the other person, and when the commitment is made to be faithful to each other, then the relationship will naturally be fruitful. But when the relationship lacks one of these - free, total, faithful, then the relationship will not be fruitful.

Real love is free, total, faithful, and fruitful. This free, total, faithful relationship between Mary and God resulted in the birth of our Saviour Jesus. God’s free, total, faithful relationship with his people through the person of Jesus, resulted in the salvation of all mankind.

When God calls us to love him, it will always be a free, total, faithful, fruitful relationship that he calls us to, because this is what love is about. If we have made the decision to enter and remain in the relationship freely (could we have said ‘no’ without consequence?), total (are we withholding any part of ourselves or not accepting any part of the deal?), faithful (are we committed to God? God is always faithful), then we can be sure that the relationship will be fruitful.

Dear Lord, help us to reflect on the love relationships in our lives, especially the ones that are not bearing fruit, and help us to see where we have not been free, total or faithful in them. Help us to renew our commitment to love the people in our relationships in a free, total, faithful and fruitful way. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: Mary’s decision to love her Lord in a free, total, faithful, and fruitful way.

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