SATURday 25 MARCH
The Annunciation of the Lord
The Feast of the Annunciation is the reason why we celebrate Christmas on December 25. Christmas comes exactly nine months after the Archangel Gabriel invited the Virgin Mary to be the Mother of God, an event we commemorate on March 25. It is fruitful to reflect upon the incarnation of Jesus Christ in the womb of the Virgin Mary.
Entrance Antiphon: Heb 10: 5, 7
The Lord said, as he entered the world: Behold, I come to do your will, O God.
O God, who willed that your Word should take on the reality of human flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, grant, we pray, that we, who confess our Redeemer to be God and man, may merit to become partakers even in his divine nature. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
First reading: Isaiah 7: 10-14, 8: 10
The Lord spoke to Ahaz and said, “Ask the Lord your God for a sign for yourself coming either from the depths of Sheol or from the heights above.” “No,” Ahaz answered “I will not put the Lord to the test.” Then Isaiah said: “Listen now, House of David: are you not satisfied with trying the patience of men without trying the patience of my God, too? The Lord himself, therefore, will give you a sign. It is this: the maiden is with child and will soon give birth to a son whom she will call Immanuel, a name which means ‘God-is-with-us.’”
R/ Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.
You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings, but an open ear. You do not ask for holocaust and victim. Instead, here am I.
In the scroll of the book, it stands written that I should do your will. My God, I delight in your law in the depth of my heart.
Your justice I have proclaimed in the great assembly. My lips I have not sealed; you know it, O Lord.
I have not hidden your justice in my heart but declared your faithful help. I have not hidden your love and your truth from the great assembly.
Second reading: Hebrews 10: 4-10
Bulls’ blood and goats’ blood are useless for taking away sins, and this is what Christ said, on coming into the world: You who wanted no sacrifice or oblation, prepared a body for me. You took no pleasure in holocausts or sacrifices for sin; then I said, just as I was commanded in the scroll of the book, ‘God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will.’ Notice that he says first: You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the oblations, the holocausts and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them; and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to obey your will. He is abolishing the first sort to replace it with the second. And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.
Gospel Acclamation: Jn 1: 14
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory! The Word became flesh, he lived among us, and we saw his glory. Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
Gospel: Luke 1: 26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, “Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.” She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, “Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?” “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,” the angel answered, “and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.” “I am the handmaid of the Lord,” said Mary, “let what you have said be done to me.” And the angel left her.
Prayer over the Offerings
Be pleased, almighty God, to accept your Church’s offering, so that she, who is aware that her beginnings lie in the Incarnation of your Only Begotten Son, may rejoice to celebrate his mysteries on this Solemnity. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Communion Antiphon: Is 7: 14
Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a son; and his name will be called Emmanuel.
Prayer after Communion
Confirm in our minds the mysteries of the true faith, we pray, O Lord, so that, confessing that he who was conceived of the Virgin Mary is true God and true man, we may, through the saving power of his Resurrection, merit to attain eternal joy. Through Christ our Lord.
Prayer over the People
Look upon your people, O Lord, and, as they draw near to the coming festivities, bestow upon them abundance of heavenly grace, that, helped by the consolations of this world, they may be impelled more readily towards higher goods that cannot be seen. Through Christ our Lord.
On this day the Church, our mother, gives us the opportunity to celebrate the solemnity of the Annunciation of our Lord Jesus Christ. The angel of the Lord is sent to a young virgin girl named Mary. Mary is the woman, “full of grace”, who found grace in the eyes of God to give birth to Jesus, the “Son of God”. The celebration of this day leads us to remember two things. The first is that God always fulfils his promises. He had announced since ancient times the coming of the Saviour. And it is the imminent coming of this Messiah that is made concrete in Mary who will conceive the “Son of the Most High”. And the second thing is that “nothing is impossible for God”. The God we believe in is the God of the impossible. Trust the Lord in your life and you will never be disappointed like Elizabeth, the barren one, and Mary, the virgin.