Tomorrow, (Monday) 25th March, we celebrate our Patronal Feast of the Annunciation. The full name of our church is St Mary of the Annunciation. So I wish you all, and the staff and pupils of St Mary’s School a very Happy Feast! There will be an extra Solemn Concelebrated Mass on Monday evening at 7pm at which the preacher will be Fr Antonio Belsito, IC. I hope we have a good attendance.
The Solemnity of the Annunciation marks one of the most important events in human history – the Incarnation of the Son of God in the womb of Our Lady. God not only visits us but becomes one with us by taking to Himself our human flesh. And this was no temporary thing. Jesus Christ, after being conceived in Our Lady’s womb would be perfect God and perfect man for all eternity. Our Lord ascended into Heaven with His human body, so God is now united with us forever by our human nature.
Our Lord’s conception in Mary’s womb was miraculous because it came about by the power of the Holy Spirit. “A virgin shall conceive and bear a Son…” (Isaiah 7:14). God wanted His Son to be “born of a woman” as St Paul tells us in the letter to the Galatians (4:4). And this is very fitting because it parallels the incident we see with the first woman, Eve, in the book of Genesis, when the fallen angel, Satan, tempts her to eat the forbidden fruit and thus she co-operates with the first Adam in the fall of the human race.
But at the Annunciation, we have Mary, the Second Eve, who is not visited by a fallen angel but by the Archangel Gabriel, and unlike the first Eve who disobeyed, Mary obeys God and she helps to bring about the Redemption. As many of the early Fathers of the Church wrote, “Death through Eve, life through Mary.”
In October 2017 we consecrated our Parish to her Immaculate Heart. Let us renew our prayer that in these times of darkness in the world and in the Church, Mary, who is God’s gift to us, will remain for us the Star of Hope pointing us to Christ Who is the one true Light and the sure way to peace. Ave Maria, gratia plena!
Fr Paul Gillham, IC