Mary encountered an angel,Gabriel, who “announced” God’s desire to have her be the human instrument of the Incarnation. Without her YES, Jesus could never have been conceived and we would never have been redeemed. This WOMAN accomplished her yes and the pregnancy without a man, her Spouse being the Holy Spirit. Jesus received the totality of his humanity from the humble Mary, who surrendered to the overshadowing of the Spirit.
Gabriel has been depicted in so many ways through the medium of art and portrait. My favorite depiction is Light, the angel Gabriel portrayed through rays Light. The Annunciation is not a past event that happened only to Mary, but a present reality open to every human being. An angel, Gabriel or other, shines on YOU, overshadowing you with the “announcement” that you are to give birth to God…to Jesus in YOUR flesh and humanity.
Just let the Encounter with this Messenger happen…look…wait…surrender sighing deeply, letting out the breath of fear only to breath in the Spirit of new Life. This encounter can never happpen without nurturing an awareness of a God Who wants each and every human being to do their part in the great restoration of the world. This restoration is completely and utterly dependent upon the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ, the only Savior, who gave his life so that we may receive the power to re-create. This power is rooted in selfless love of all, especially the outcast.
And the Church shines powerfully when it refuses to align itself with any particular political party or economic theory. The more the Church is at odds with any political power, the better she is. The fate of the church must mirror the fate of Christ: to be condemned, stripped of riches, carrying the cross of suffering and injustice, dying to power that controls…RISING to a new Easter Life that is the definitive response to evil and sin.
The Annunciation is the news that this is happening now, in our world and in our church. No wonder there is so much confusion and violence in the world, because the force of evil does not see the message of Christ and the gospel as “good news.” Our response must be rooted in peace and a refusal to give in to the violence. The Church, our parish, must spread its “arms” of embrace, not in an ivory tower, but on the cross.