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Archive for March 25th, 2011

In exactly nine months from today, March 25th, is Christmas.  On this day the Church rejoices that the angel Gabriel announced (and so, annunciation) that the Virgin Mary would conceive and bear a Child:  the  Son of God.  When Gabriel announced this, Mary responded, Let it be according to your word.  So the Annunciation is the Incarnation.   The Feast of the Annunciation is always in Lent as the Church prepares for Holy Week.  In the midst of death, there is life (Luther).  St. Gregory Thaumaturgus  (died circa A.D. 270-275) wrote this on the Annunciation:

Most of the holy fathers and patriarchs and prophets desired to see Him with their own eyes, but did not. Some of them by visions beheld Him in type, and darkly; others, again, were privileged to hear the divine voice through the medium of the cloud and were favored with the vision of holy angels. But only to Mary the pure virgin did the archangel Gabriel manifest himself in brilliant light, bringing her the glad address, “Hail, you who are highly favored!” And thus she received the Word, and soon, in time, through the body’s natural process, she gave birth to the dear Pearl. Come, then, you, too, dearly beloved, and let us chant the melody that has been taught us by the inspired harp of David and say, “Arise, 0 Lord, into Your rest, You, and the ark of Your sanctuary.” For the holy Virgin is truly an ark, made with gold both within and without, who has received the whole treasury of the Holy of Holies.

For the holy Virgin is truly an ark…the Ark of the Covenant, not made by human hands.  The Virgin Mary for nine months was the first Church for our Savior was in her womb.  Now the Ark of the Covenant was in the Temple in Jerusalem.  When the Christ is born, He becomes the true Temple, not in Jerusalem, Gerizim (see this coming Sunday’s Gospel, John 4 ) or any place else.  In John 2, when the disciples marveled upon seeing the Temple in Jerusalem, Jesus responded that tear this Temple down and in three days I will raise it.  Others standing nearby were aghast and said it took 46 years to build it and you will rebuild in three days!  

But he was speaking about the temple of his body22When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

He promised that as 2 or 3 are gathered together in His Name, so He is there (Matthew 18:20).  He said, This is My Body and This is My Blood.  Even the Piovano Community Room at the Rockbridge Library is where and when we are called to so meet and are so met by Him.  This is our Annunciation of His grace and peace for us sinners.  This then so leads to the  reason of the Incarnation as so well said by St.Gregory Thaumaturgos:

Mary laid in a manger Him who sits above the cherubim and is praised by myriads of angels. In the manger set apart for irrational animals, the Word of God lay, in order that He might impart to men, who are really irrational by free choice, the true reason and understanding. In the manger from which cattle eat was laid the heavenly Bread, in order that He might provide men who live like the beasts of the earth with spiritual food.

O  Lord, as we have known the incarnation of Your Son Jesus Christ by the message of the angel to the Virgin Mary, so by the message of His cross and passion bring us to the glory of His resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. The Prayer of the Day)

The Old Testament Reading for the Day: Isaiah 7:10-14

The Gospel Reading for the Day: Luke 1:26-38


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