We could easily make the case that this Feast of the “Announcement” of Jesus’ birth and His conception in the womb of Mary should be on a par with Christmas. From one point of view, it is a greater occasion than Christmas. The Child would not have been born if He had not first been conceived. However, even today when the actual moment of conception is not known with accuracy, it is the visible experience of the birth, the coming into the outside world, which makes much greater impact. We all celebrate our birth-day but not our conception-day, even though the latter is technically the moment when we came to be.
The “Word Made Flesh,” the Incarnation of God, is one of the pedestals which defines our Christian faith. It was at the Annunciation that the Incarnation began to become a reality. It was at this moment that “the Word was indeed made flesh and lived among us.” (John 1) Today is a special day of praise and thanksgiving for all of us.
During the public ministry of Jesus, when Mary was praised by a woman in a crowd for having produced such a wonderful son as Jesus, Jesus replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it.” And here is Mary’s true greatness: not so much that she was chosen to be the Mother of God, but that she responded with such generosity. And, right up to the very end, she stood by her Son. In that she resembles Jesus Himself, whose relationship to His Father is one of deep loyalty, confidence, and trust. Jesus offered Himself totally to His Father, saying in essence, “God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will.” This was indeed the essence of Jesus’ life: “Not my will but yours be done.” He emptied Himself totally and gave all to the Father. In this is our salvation.
Mary, too, said her ‘Yes’ in the little house in Nazareth. It was a historic moment in the world’s history. Things would never be the same again. Let us thank Mary today for her unconditional ‘Yes’ and let us ask her to help us say our ‘Yes’ to God, today and for the rest of our lives. “Hail Mary, full of grace ….”