The Opera of the Annunciation

Jijo Kandamkulathy, CMF

Claretian Publications, Macau

Lk 1:26-38


What preparations were running in heaven for the first Christmas! Gabriel had to begin the process six months ahead when he had to pass the message of the birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah. The Gloria choirs might have begun their practice since then. Then, Gabriel had to get ready to go to Mary exactly after six months to announce the matter of the birth of Christ. Then, Zechariah’s dumbness had to be withdrawn. In the meanwhile, Joseph’s dreams had to be rehearsed, the star had to be set to guide the magi, the Gloria choirs appear at the time of the birth, the shepherds had to be inspired, and timely dreams had to be set up for the magi and Joseph!!!! Hectic to say the least, right?

The opera of the preparation for the birth of the Lord is a story of extraordinary joy. Today’s gospel gives us a glimpse of the drama with the conversation of Gabriel and Mary. One could imagine Gabriel relating to God the Father, the story of how he encountered Zechariah during the worship in the temple and in disbelief he had to go dumb. Gabriel must have been advised by God the Father to be a little gentle to the young lady, Mary.

Mary must have been in prayer or in her house chores when angel Gabriel appeared to her. Gabriel must have been taken aback by the response of this audacious young girl who had the courage to establish a dialogue with him. When the apparition happened to Zechariah, he was overcome with fear (Lk 1:12)! But here is a young girl, debating with the angel. We are surprised to see how Mary was familiar with spiritual realities that the appearance of the angel did not scare her, or she had no doubt about who was calling.

In the Old Testament, there is a similar story, a boy about the same age as Mary was called by God. Samuel could not recognize who was calling in spite of serving in the temple for some years (1 Sam 3). The need to get the children familiarized with divine experiences, or at least to consult spiritual helpers, is a practice we need to grow in our families!

When Joseph did not understand Mary’s pregnancy situation and was trying to divorce her secretly, Mary ran to the sign given to her, Elizabeth. Elizabeth who got pregnant in her old age would be the only woman on earth who can understand the miracle happening to Mary. In their meeting, they break forth into a chorus of divine praise. People who have experienced God first hand will glow like burning charcoal put together.

Mary’s consent to the proposal of Gabriel was not out of fear or coercion. Young as she was, she was not intimidated by the overawing presence of the angel. Instead, she clarified her doubts before consenting. Mary’s “yes” was a very well thought out response to God. She made a choice to go by God’s plans. God’s plans do not occur to us unknowingly but rather by our informed consent and desire to adhere to God’s plans.