“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.”
The Lord has looked upon Mary; he has chosen her; he has always loved her, and has showered her with his grace and assured her of his protection: “Hail, full of grace. The Lord is with you” (Lk 1:28). God overflows with love for Mary, making her a perfect temple of his presence. He invites her to rejoice and trust because the ancient promises are about to be fulfilled. God’s loving presence in her has made her a worthy dwelling place for a son to be born of her womb.
These are solemn, unprecedented, grandiose words. From that young virgin, the long-awaited son of David will be born at last. He will be called Jesus (cf. Lk 1:31). He will announce and make present the kingdom of God as a kingdom of justice and peace, a kingdom of truth and love. His kingdom will not be based on power and oppression, but on love, service and forgiveness. His word and his spirit will bring liberation from sin and death to humanity. This child will not be born as the fruit of the love of spouses who have a mutual love for each other; he will be born as the fruit of God’s love for all humanity. He will be God’s great gift to humanity through Mary.
Bishop @silviojbaez “Without Mary, God could never have shown us his smile, caressed us, healed our wounds with his hands and spoken to us as our brother.” #AnnunciationTweet
He will be a son begotten by the love of God as the fruit of the creative action of the Spirit in the Virgin of Nazareth. The Holy Spirit will come upon her and the power of the Most High will overshadow her (cf. Lk 1:35). God’s presence will rest upon Mary as it did upon the people of Israel in ancient times. She will give flesh and blood to a son who will rightly be called “Son of God”. The eternal becomes mortal, the invisible becomes visible, heaven appears on earth. And all this through a woman who is a believer, open and available to God.
The Virgin of Nazareth thus becomes the sanctuary chosen by God to come to us. She gives flesh and blood to the divine mystery. Without Mary, God never could have shown us his smile, caressed us, healed our wounds with his hands and spoken to us as our brother. Without Mary, the Gospel becomes cold; it loses its heart. It becomes an ideology or a simple ethical proposal.
It is very consoling to hear the explanation of the mystery that took place in the Virgin: “Nothing is impossible for God” (Lk 1:37). Nothing is impossible for Love. We must never think that everything depends exclusively on us. We need not live imprisoned by our capacities and our strengths. At times it seems that things are beyond repair, but beyond what we can see and understand, God is transforming everything for our good.
When we make room for God’s love and trust him, the impossible begins to become a reality. May we always count on the God of the impossible. When it seems that there is nothing that can be done, he is still there—God, for whom nothing is impossible.
Bishop @silviojbaez “When we make room for God’s love and trust him, the impossible begins to become a reality.” #AnnunciationTweet
Mary’s response to God is one of great simplicity: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). Mary is the woman of “yes”. In her, we find God’s “yes” to humanity and humanity’s “yes” to God. The Virgin welcomes God without hesitation and procrastination. She does so with joy as well as decisiveness.
“Let it be done” translates the Greek verbal form, genoito, which indicates not the passive resignation of someone who has no other choice and lets things happen, but rather manifests the decision and responsibility of a person who actively commits herself. Our Lady accepts God’s plans as her own and welcomes the action of the Spirit in her heart and in her womb. In this way she becomes, as Benedict XVI called her, the “mother of the Word Incarnate” (Deus caritas est, 41).
Bishop @silviojbaez “God is still searching for men and women who, like Mary, will open up to him with infinite trust.” #AnnunciationTweet
He still needs people who are willing to collaborate with him in giving life to the world. He looks for men and women who are poor, who know how to hope and trust him, who take risks for others, and aren’t afraid to be docile to the action of the Spirit like Mary. God is still searching for people who listen to his word and believe in his promises like Mary.
The Son of God was born in Bethlehem, but he is present in the world today because of our faith and love. God continues to seek out hearts like Mary’s, ready to believe that nothing is impossible for God.
Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua
Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent (excerpts)
20 December 2020
Translation from the Spanish text is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.
Featured Image: The Annunciation is an oil on canvas artwork executed in 1887 by American artist George Hitchcock (1850–1913). It is on view in the Arts of the Americas gallery at the Art Institute of Chicago. The gallery label offers these details: “In George Hitchcock’s unusual presentation of the Annunciation, the virgin is depicted as a Dutch peasant girl standing in a field of lilies. Traditionally, the lily is a symbol of the angel Gabriel, and Mary’s downcast eyes and humble stance imply that she has received his divine message. Hitchcock spent much of his life in Holland, and his work synthesizes elements of several European art movements. The choice of a religious subject, the unusual composition, and his interest in the effects of sunlight and shadow reflect the influence of the Pre-Raphaelites, the Symbolists, and the Impressionists on Hitchcock’s work.” You can learn more about this artwork on the museum website.