26 March. The Annunciation of the Lord
Isaiah 7:10-14: The young woman will conceive a son: the sign of Immanuel.
Luke 1:26-38: The angel’s message to Mary: The power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow.
Incarnation in this very City
From a 2009 homily in Nazareth, by Fouad Twal, Patriarch of the Latin Church in the Holy Land
“The angel said to Mary: Peace to you O full of grace!” Dear children of Galilee, beloved ones, It is beautiful that we meet this year too in this occasion, the feast of Annunciation, near this place which witnessed the visit of the angel to Virgin Mary. With all love and gratitude I greet you all, old and young, with the tenderness of Christ, Virgin Mary and St. Joseph.
As I carry in the Latin Patriarchate the responsibility of “the mother of all churches”, I am reminded of the memory of the Annunciation, when “God sent the angel Gabriel to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, from the House of David, and the name of the Virgin was Mary.” Here in this city, it occurred and has become a reality. Hence, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to be present together today.
In this city occurred the greatest miracle of the incarnation of the Word. In this city, God became one of us, He lived among us, just like us in everything except sin. Jesus is not a human that we raise to the level of God but He is the Incarnated God who never lost His nature as a God. “The incarnation of the word” means that God is close to us, God loves us and for us He came to our land to bless it and to give us life, blessings and salvation, in order for us to move forward in the path of faith, hope and love. Yes, we ask God to keep this city a place for faith and not for indifference and materialistic interests. We thank the Lord Jesus Christ for the blessing of your attachment to him and to his mother, defending our Christian symbols from humiliation, ridicule and disdain. I personally thank God for the faith and for your affiliation, and I ask God, who began to work in you, to continue to do so.
Christ came to Nazareth, and the other cities, and blessed us and therefore, we must be worthy of this blessing and convey the True Faith to the younger generations to follow the Christ who came with Mary and Joseph to Nazareth and was obeying to them, when growing in age, wisdom and grace. This is what we wish for our young men and women to come forward in knowledge, virtue, piety and fear of God, as they receive our complete appreciation and love.
First Reading: Book of Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10
The Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.
Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel…. for God is with us.
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel as sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, you relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.