October 9, 2017

The Most Dangerous Announcement Ever Made

The Annunciation

By Father Philip N. Powell OP, PhD

It is the most dangerous announcement ever made: “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” The angel Gabriel, sent by God to Mary, greets the virgin by telling her that she is most graced, wholly blessed, chosen, and attended to by the Lord. Very, very dangerous. And Mary knew Gabriel's announcement was dangerous. Luke tells us, "[Mary] was greatly troubled...." Greatly troubled?! Troubled…and wise. Mary pondered the angelic greeting with dread. She understood that this particular, unique grace picked her out of all God’s human creatures. She understood that receiving an angel from the Lord meant a mission, a purpose beyond a mortal end; a life of singular graces; an honored life of doing the Father’s will for His glory. Dangerous for Mary? Absolutely! Dangerous for us? O, Yes!

Mary is being asked by the Lord to serve as bearer of the world’s salvation. To be the vessel of the Word, and the Mother of a redeemed nation. Saying yes to this mission places her in that moment of human history where the Divine Son takes on human flesh, and sets out toward a selfless, loving sacrifice so that we may all be healed. In her ministry to all of creation, the Virgin gives her body, her will, for the rest of us so that the Infinite Word might speak Himself as a Finite Word and gather us together into a single heart, a single mind, one voice in witness to the mercy and forgiveness of the Lord. She is the mother of our salvation, the perfected vessel of our eternal healing. Mary is a preacher of the gospel, the first preacher of the Word in a fallen world that has been given over to the Enemy to rule. As the Mother of the Christ Child she has an incredibly dangerous job, giving birth to the Word of God among those who would reject His Word.

When you and I took on the responsibility of bearing the Word to the world – when we became preachers – we took on the dangers of opposing all that the world worships as good. Speaking the Word of Truth against the Lie riles up the worst resentments and the most violent frustrations of those in the world who resent Mary’s Yes, who resent the gift of the Christ Child, and who turn their faces against his invitation to participate in the Divine Life. The danger for us here is twofold: 1) that we are seen as the causes of resentment and frustration among those who reject the Word, and 2) that we succumb to the temptation to see these people as hopeless, beyond reach, and deserving of immediate punishment. The first – that we are blamed – is becoming common enough. The second – our unjust judgment of others – is scandalously common and unworthy of the Virgin-child who made our own Yes to bearing the Word possible.....

Excerpted from Fr. Powell’s homily "Dangerous for Mary, dangerous for us!"

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