Reflection for Sunday, March 24, 2019

Paul Robson sj

On Monday, March 25, we celebrate the feast of the Annunciation. The word annunciation is used because something was announced, as the angel Gabriel made an announcement to Mary.

It is also fitting to call this the feast of the Incarnation. That word, incarnation, has the meaning of “taking on flesh”; and, as we read in John’s Gospel, “the Word became flesh and lived among us” (1:14). Now, we might associate Jesus’ incarnation with his birth – but, actually, he took on flesh about nine months earlier than that.

In the early Church, in the 3 rd century or so, there was some debate about when Jesus was born and about which day should be celebrated as his birthday. Someone suggested that March 25 be the special day. That day may have been suggested because it is close to the beginning of spring, the time of new life on Earth. In the end, as we know, December 25 was decided upon, as the day to mark Jesus’ birth.

So with Christmas, with Jesus’ birth, celebrated on the 25 th of December, it makes sense that we have another celebration on the 25 th of March. After all, there are nine months separating the two dates. On Monday, then, we celebrate Mary’s pregnancy, her acceptance of God’s will for her life, and the amazing moment when God first took on flesh.

May this Monday, then, be a day of celebration and of giving thanks to God!

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