Monday, March 26, 2012

Solemnity of the Annunciation - Catechesis

Dear Brothers and Sisters, today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Lord’s Annunciation. Today, we start the countdown for Christmas, the Nativity of Our Lord. But why do we need to celebrate today’s solemn feast? Isn't it that we are in the final days of Lent, preparing for the celebration of the Sacred Triduum of the Paschal Mystery of Christ – his passion, death, and resurrection?

We cannot separate the mystery of incarnation with the joy of the passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord. These two mysteries: the mystery of Incarnation and the Paschal Mystery are both saving acts of God. These two mysteries manifest the desire of God to save us from sin and death.

The Solemnity of the Annunciation is the first agenda of God: he needs to send his only-begotten Son to a Virgin outstanding in humility, purity, and faith. But God needs the consent of Mary, and it was faith that moved Our Lady to say her ‘Fiat.’ From that moment on, the first agenda was realized and put into concrete action. The saving act of God is now on the move.

Now, the Paschal Mystery is the fulfilment of God’s agenda in saving us. The death of Jesus on the cross is the peak of that agenda for salvation, sealed by his own blood. The resurrection is the assurance that Jesus’ love and salvation will never end.

Another beautiful part of the mystery of incarnation is the coming of God as Man: the hypostatic union is celebrated here and now. Many thought that this dogma happened during Christmas: no. The conception of Jesus is the moment when God, who is divine and perfect, entered into humanity and took the form of a human person– body and soul. Jesus Christ, who is God, became true man so that he may save us (cf. Nicene Creed: "For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; and by the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man."). Man can be saved by the 100% God and 100% Man alone – Jesus Christ. We need this hypostatic union because: first, God as all-powerful has the power and authority to save his creation, but because God is spirit and doesn’t experience and the feeling of death, he was necessary that the Word must become flesh. God, who is the Word, needs to have a human form (body and soul) because only Man has the capability to experience death due to sin. But what Christ did was: the moment he became Man in all things except sin, but still perfect God, made men share into his divinity. Now moment of annunciation is the moment of men made divine by the presence of Our God.

Now, as we celebrate this great feast of OUR SALVATION, let us remember and reflect how God so really love the world that he gave his only Son. His Son emptied himself, taking a form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself, like his Mother, and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. (cf. Phil 2:5-8; cf. LH, Saturday, Canticle at Evening Prayer.)

Installation of a New Pastor (Ceremonial of Bishops)

Vestments and Order of Celebration:

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