Jesus is conceived from Mary’s yes

Fernando Armellini SCJ

Claretian Publications, Macau

There is a surprise in the expectations and realization of the messianic coming. He chooses not a valiant liberator like Gideon, not a hero like Samson or a powerful ruler as Solomon, but a woman, a virgin, a poor girl.

The central message of the passage is the opening greeting of the angel to Mary. “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” This greeting was well known to Mary because the prophets had already addressed it to the Virgin Zion from Zephaniah (Zep 3:1).

After the greeting, the angel announced to Mary the birth of a child to whom the Lord God will give the kingdom of David, his ancestor; he will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and his reign shall have no end. Almost identical words are found, on the mouth of Nathan (2 S 7:12-17). Placing them on the lips of the angel, the evangelist declares that the prophecy made to David was accomplished in the son of Mary: Jesus is the long-awaited messiah destined to rule forever.

The angel tells Mary: “The power of the Most High will overshadow you.” In the Old Testament the shadow and the cloud are signs of God’s presence. A cloud covered the tent where Moses went to meet God (Ex 40:34-35). Stating that the shadow of the Almighty has rested on Mary, Luke says that God renders himself present in her. We are faced with this evangelist’s profession of faith in the divinity of Mary’s Son.

The last words of the angel are: “With God nothing is impossible” (v. 37). These are the same words that the Lord spoke to Abraham when he announced the birth of Isaac (Gen 18:14). This is a good news to those who feel themselves too poor, too unworthy and think that for them there is no more hope of recovery and salvation: “With God nothing is impossible.”

I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said. It is Mary’s response to God’s call. The Greek word genoito expresses a joyful desire of Mary, an anxiety to see the Lord’s plan realized in her. The story begins with the “Rejoice,” and ends with the joyful cry of the Virgin.

No one had understood God’s plan. David, Nathan, Solomon, the kings of Israel had not understood it. All had put their own dreams and expected God to help them achieve those. Mary does not behave like them; she does not put her plan before God’s. She only asks what is the role God intends to entrust to her and joyously welcomes his initiative.

 

Abridged by

Kandamkulathy Jijo

 

 

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