O Lord, as we have known the incarnation of Your Son, Jesus Christ, by the message of the angel to the virgin Mary, so by the message of His cross and passion bring us to the glory of His resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever! AMEN!
Read: St. Luke 1:26-48
The Church always has its eyes focused on Christmas and Easter. These two are the holiest days on the entire Church calendar, one marking the day that Christ came into the world and the other marking the day on which He rose from the tomb as victor, conquering sin, death and the devil.
And so every day the Church is on the lookout for how it can point people to Christmas and to Easter, because in pointing to these two holy days it is ultimately pointing to Jesus.
So today the Church celebrates the angel Gabriel coming to Mary to announce that she will be the mother of the long promised Christ child. Now that might seem like a really random day on which to mark such an occasion, but we are nine months out from Christmas, and if Jesus is going to do everything that we do, than today is the day that He must be conceived so that in nine months He might be born in that Bethlehem manger.
This year, as it does in most years, the Annunciation occurs during Lent. And some might brush that off as a coincidence that can be easily overlooked; after all, it is simple math that nine months from Christmas is going to put us at a very different time of year, and that it only stands to reason that something else will be occurring at that particular time.
But remember that the Church always has its eyes on Christmas and Easter; and not just individually, but as a unit. There is no Christmas without Easter, and there is no Easter without Christmas.
That the Annunciation occurs during Lent most years is a wonderful reminder for us as we approach the celebration of Easter: that from the moment He was conceived in the womb, the cross was His destination.
There is a life insurance commercial running right now, in which a husband dies and leaves behind a wife and infant daughter. Before his death, the husband had invested in some life insurance so that the wife and child would be provided for; and so one of the insurance agents places a graduation cap on the child. The mother asks ‘where do you think she’ll go’ to which the agent responds ‘anywhere she wants’.
We like the idea of newborns and small children having their whole lives in front of them and knowing that they could be anything from president of the United States to a doctor or lawyer or CEO of a large company or even just a blessing to society.
Well there is no wondering for Mary and Joseph as to what their child that now grows in the womb of Mary will do: He will go to the cross, where He will suffer and die for the salvation of all people. That is clear right here and right now from the moment Gabriel speaks to Mary and tells her that she will conceive and bear a son and will call His name Jesus, and that He will save His people from their sins.
Right now, on the brink of Holy Week, the Church is looking ahead to Christmas. Not because Christmas is a happier time or a holier time; but because on Christmas we get the birth of Jesus, the one who will go to the cross and suffer and die and on the third day rise.
Easter points us to Christmas, and Christmas points us right back to Easter, and both Easter and Christmas point us to Jesus.