Friday, 25 March 2022 : Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, marking the moment when the Archangel Gabriel came to the little town of Nazareth before Mary, the one God had chosen to be the bearer of His Messiah, and revealed to her the Good News that all of us mankind had awaited for a very long time. The word Annunciation itself has the same meaning as the word ‘announce’ as the Good News was announced and revealed in this world at long last, that God’s salvation was finally at hand.

The Lord has promised His salvation to all of us from the very beginning of time. In our first reading today, when we heard the account from the Book of the prophet Isaiah regarding the sign from God which Isaiah prophesied would come despite the lack of faith from the king, as when Isaiah told king Ahaz of Judah to ask for a sign from God, he refused to do so, and the prophet chastised the king for his refusal as that refusal was made not so much so by humility but rather by his lack of faith and trust in the Lord. Ahaz was one of the kings of Judah who was considered to be one of the unfaithful and wicked kings, whose actions further misled the people away from God.

Isaiah mentioned how God would show His sign in due time to all the people, that a woman would bear a Child, and that woman is a Virgin, who bears the Child with a most peculiar name, that is Emmanuel, or God-is-with-us. That was in fact an early revelation of what God would do for His people, that He Himself would come upon us through the Virgin, the Woman whom He had in fact spoken about right from the beginning of time, when mankind first fell into sin. In the Book of Genesis, we heard of how Adam and Eve, our first ancestors sinned against God, and how they ate of the forbidden tree’s fruits, and Satan deceived Eve in order to do that.

God sent Adam and Eve to wander on earth, into this world to endure the sufferings as the just consequences of our sins. However, at the same time, He still reassured us all of His love, and while we have to suffer the consequences of those disobedience and wickedness we had committed, but He still loved us no matter what, and He proclaimed before Satan, Adam and Eve, that while Satan might strike at the children of man, implying how he would come to drag more and more of the children of man into sin and therefore into damnation, but through the Woman He spoke of, God reassured and promised us all of the deliverance that would come, and that Saviour would crush the head of Satan.

Thus, the words of the prophet Isaiah was in fact yet another reassurance from God of the truth behind all that He would do for the sake of His people. God would come Himself upon us, by willingly taking up on our human existence and flesh, becoming incarnate through Mary, His mother, that He became tangible and approachable to us, conceived by the Holy Spirit and then born into this world, the Saviour Who had been long awaited for by the whole world. He is Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, the Son of God Most High and the Son of Man. Mary’s acceptance of her role in the bringing forth of God’s salvation into this world made all these possible.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we heard in our Gospel passage today, Mary had listened to the words of the Archangel Gabriel, revealing to her how she was to become the Mother of the Son of God Most High, and her acceptance of the role that the Lord had entrusted to her, sealed her role in the history of our salvation. That is why the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord is exactly nine months before Christmas, as it was at the very moment that Mary answered the Archangel Gabriel with total submission to the will of God, ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said,’ that by the power of the Holy Spirit, Our Lord was conceived in the womb of Mary, the Virgin who was to bear a Child, the Saviour of the world.

Mary’s obedience to the Lord and her total commitment to Him marks her as the New Eve as opposed to the first and old Eve of the Book of Genesis. While the old Eve disobeyed the Lord and gave in to her desires and listened to the lies of Satan tempting her with the allures of wisdom and knowledge, Mary as the New Eve remained faithful to the Lord and committed herself to Him, despite all the challenges and trials she might have to face for the path that she was led into. As an unmarried woman, to have a Child outside the bond of marriage it was very risky for her as she could have been stoned to death for her supposed adultery, and naturally Mary must have some hesitation in her heart, knowing all that. But she trusted wholeheartedly in the Lord and gave herself to what the Lord entrusted her with.

Mary has indeed been specially prepared by the Lord as we all know, conceived immaculate as the Immaculate Conception, set aside to be the worthy vessel to bear the Lord, as she is not just the New Eve but also the Ark of the New Covenant, the Covenant to be made and established by Jesus, her Son, Who resided in her womb for nine months. However, although she was made immaculate and free from the taint of original sin, to prepare her for her role, this did not strip from her the free will to choose. She chose consciously to follow God, to obey Him and to listen to Him instead of following the path of the evil one.

And that is not all, brothers and sisters in Christ. Just as we heard from our second reading passage today, from the Epistle to the Hebrews, the author of that Epistle spoke of the worthy offering offered to the Lord, and highlighted how the offerings of blood and animals of old cannot fully satisfy these offerings and requirements to the Lord. But the perfect and most worthy offering has then been made by none other than Christ Himself, the perfect offering of His own Most Precious Body and Blood, offered willingly and out of perfect and total obedience to the will of God, His heavenly Father.

In that way, Christ has become the New Adam much as His mother Mary is the New Eve. As the old Adam disobeyed the Lord and refused to follow His commands, and instead listened to the lies of Satan to satisfy his own desires and in seeking worldly achievements, thus Christ has rebuked and rejected Satan, showing us that we can break free from the power and domination of evil, from his lies and falsehoods, from all of his temptations and the pressures that he had placed on us in trying to mislead us and to distract us to fall into the path of sin. And not only that, but Christ also showed His perfect obedience to the will of His Father as a model for us all to follow.

Today, as we celebrate this great Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, all of us are reminded of the assurances that God has given to us all these time, all that He had done for our sake and everything He has promised to us. If we are faithful to Him, we truly have nothing to fear. For He has shown us the path forward to eternal life, true happiness and joy with Him. Unfortunately, more often than not it is we who have faltered, stubbornly refusing to follow the Lord and all that He has shown us. The Lord has always patiently led us to Himself, and He wants us to know that all of us are beloved to Him, and He loves us all dearly.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all remind ourselves today not to succumb to the temptations to sin, but instead be inspired by Mary, the Mother of Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, and Our Lord Himself, who as the New Eve and New Adam respectively have shown us all the path out of the darkness of sin and evil, into the light of righteousness and faith. They have shown us that sin and death do not have the final say or power over us, as long as we have faith in God, walk in His path and devote ourselves wholeheartedly to Him.

The question is, are we all willing to walk down this path that God has shown us? Are we willing to walk down the path with God Who has always been with us, reassured us again and again, and Who has come down into our midst, to live with us and to be Emmanuel, God Who is with us, tangible and approachable? He has shown us all His light, the path and hope amidst the darkness of this world. Are we all willing to follow Him? Or are we still stuck in living in the darkness of this world and in following the temptations and pressures to disobey Him and to sin?

On this great Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord therefore, let us all reflect on these and discern carefully our path forward in life. Let us all follow the obedience showed by Mary, the Mother of God as she obeyed the will of God so perfectly, entrusting herself to the care of her Lord, and followed Him in all things. And let us all also follow the example of her Son, Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in His faith and total obedience to the will of His heavenly Father. May all of us draw ever closer to God and may He strengthen us all to live ever more worthily in His presence, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 25 March 2022 : Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 26-38

In the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. He was sent to a young virgin, who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

The Angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean. But the Angel said, “Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a Son, and you shall call Him Jesus. He will be great, and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the kingdom of David, His ancestor; He will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and His reign shall have no end.”

Then Mary said to the Angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And the Angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the Holy Child to be born of you shall be called Son of God. Even your relative Elizabeth is expecting a son in her old age, although she was unable to have a child; and she is now in her sixth month. With God nothing is impossible.”

Then Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.” And the Angel left her.

Friday, 25 March 2022 : Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hebrews 10 : 4-10

And never will the blood of bulls and goats take away these sins. This is why on entering the world, Christ says : You did not desire sacrifice and offering; You were not pleased with burnt offerings and sin offerings. Then I said : “Here I am. It was written of Me in the scroll. I will do Your will, o God.”

First He says : “Sacrifice, offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings You did not desire nor were You pleased with them – although they were required by the Law. Then He says : Here I am to do Your will. This is enough to nullify the first will and establish the new. Now, by this will of God, we are sanctified once and for all by the sacrifice of the Body of Christ Jesus.

Friday, 25 March 2022 : Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 39 : 7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 11

Sacrifice and oblation You did not desire; this You had me understand. Burnt offering and sin offering You do not require. Then I said, “Here I come!”

“As the scroll says of me. To do Your will is my delight, o God, for Your law is within my heart.”

In the great assembly I have proclaimed Your saving help. My lips, o Lord, I did not seal – You know that very well.

I have not locked up in my heart Your saving help, but have spoken about it – Your deliverance and Your faithfulness; I have made no secret of Your truth and of Your kindness in the great assembly.

Friday, 25 March 2022 : Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 7 : 10-14 and Isaiah 8 : 10

Once again YHVH addressed Ahaz, “Ask for a sign from YHVH your God, let it come either from the deepest depths or from the heights of heaven.”

But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask, I will not put YHVH to the test.” Then Isaiah said, “Now listen, descendants of David. Have you not been satisfied trying the patience of people, that you also try the patience of my God? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign : The Virgin is with Child and bears a Son and calls His Name Immanuel.”

“Devise a plan and it will be thwarted, make a resolve and it will not stand, for God-is-with-us.”

(Usus Antiquior) Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Double I Classis) – Friday, 25 March 2022 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Preface, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : White

Offertory

Luke 1 : 28. 42

Ave, Maria, gratia plena; Dominus tecum : Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui.


English translation

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the Fruit of your womb.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

In mentibus nostris, quaesumus, Domine, verae fidei sacramenta confirma : ut, qui conceptum de Virgine Deum verum et hominem confitemur; per ejus salutiferae resurrectionis potentiam, ad aeternam mereamur pervenire laetitiam. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Confirm, o Lord, in our minds, we beseech You, the mysteries of the true faith, that we who confess Him Who was conceived of a Virgin to be true God and man, may deserve to arrive at eternal joy, by the power of His saving resurrection. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Preface of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere : Domine, Sancte Pater omnipotens aeterne Deus : Et Te in annunciationem Beatae Mariae semper Virginis collaudare, benedicere et praedicare. Quae et Unigenitum Tuum Sancti Spiritus obumbratione concepit : et, virginitatis gloria permanente, lumen aeternum mundo effudit, Jesum Christum, Dominum nostrum. Per quem majestatem Tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominationes, tremunt Potestates. Caeli caelorumque Virtutes ac beata Seraphim socia exsultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces ut admitti jubeas, deprecamur, supplici confessione dicentes.

English translation

It is truly right and just, and availing unto our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, o Holy Lord, Father Almighty, Everlasting God, and on the Annunciation of the Blessed Mary ever Virgin, should praise, bless and proclaim You. For she conceived Your only begotten Son by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, and losing not the glory of her virginity, gave to the world the everlasting Light, Jesus Christ Our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Your majesty, the Dominions worship it, and the Powers are in awe. The heavens and the heavenly hosts, and the blessed Seraphim join together in celebrating their joy. With these we pray to You joining our voices also, while we say with lowly praise.

Communion

Isaiah 7 : 14

Ecce Virgo concipiet et pariet Filium : et vocabitur Nomen Ejus Emmanuel.

English translation

Behold a Virgin shall conceive and bring forth a Son, and His Name shall be called Emmanuel.

Post-Communion Prayer

Gratiam Tuam, quaesumus, Domine : mentibus nostris infunde : ut qui, Angelo nuntiate, Christi Filii Tui incarnationem cognovimus; per passionem Ejus et crucem, ad resurrectionis gloriam perducamur. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Pour forth, we beseech You, o Lord, Your grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ, Your Son was made known by the message of an Angel, may, by His Passion and Cross, be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Double I Classis) – Friday, 25 March 2022 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : White

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke

Luke 1 : 26-38

In illo tempore : Missus est Angelus Gabriel a Deo in civitatem Galilaeae, cui nomen Nazareth, ad Virginem desponsatam viro, cui nomen erat Joseph, de domo David, et nomen Virginis Maria.

Et ingressus Angelus ad eam, dixit : Ave, gratia plena; Dominus tecum : benedicta tu in mulieribus. Quae cum audisset, turbata est in sermone ejus : et cogitabat, qualis esset ista salutatio.

Et ait Angelus ei : Ne timeas, Maria, invenisti enim gratiam apud Deum : ecce, concipies in utero et paries filium, et vocabis Nomen Ejus Jesum. Hic erit magnus, et Filius Altissimi vocabitur, et dabit illi Dominus Deus sedem David, patris Ejus : et regnabit in domo Jacob in aeternum, et regni Ejus non erit finis.

Dixit autem Maria ad Angelum : Quomodo fiet istud, quoniam virum non cognosco? Et respondens Angelus, dixit ei : Spiritus Sanctus superveniet in te, et virtus Altissimi obumbrabit tibi. Ideoque et quod nascetur ex te Sanctum, vocabitur Filius Dei.

Et ecce, Elisabeth, cognata tua, et ipsa concepit filiumin senectute sua : et hic mensis sextus est illi, quae vocatur sterilis : quia non erit impossibile apud Deum omne verbum. Dixit autem Maria : Ecce ancilla Domini, fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.

English translation

At that time, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.

And the Angel being come in, said unto her, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women.” Having heard this, she was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.

And the Angel said to her, “Do not fear, Mary, for you have found grace with God. Behold you shall conceive in your womb and shall bring forth a Son, and you shall call His Name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High, the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father, and He shall reign in the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.”

And Mary said to the Angel, “How shall this be done, because I do not know any man?” And the Angel answering said to her, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you. And therefore also the Holy One which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God.”

“And behold your cousin Elizabeth, she also had conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren, because no word shall be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word.”