Be It Done Unto Me!

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.
(Luke 1:26-38)

Scripture Study

1:26 in the sixth month Occurs six months after Elizabeth conceived (v. 24). a town of Galilee called Nazareth A small agricultural village to the southwest of the Sea of Galilee. Nazareth has been inhabited continuously since the third century bc.

1:27 a virgin Luke calls Mary a virgin twice in this verse to demonstrate that Jesus’ conception was an act of God. The Greek word used here, parthenos, reflects the Septuagint (ancient Greek translation of the OT) version of Isa 7:14, which Matthew drew from when quoting the Hebrew Bible (or OT). Matthew appropriates this prophecy and applies it to the virgin birth of Jesus. betrothed to a man At this time, betrothal represented a permanent relationship nearly equivalent to marriage; breaking off a betrothal required a decision akin to divorce. of the house of David Luke alludes to Isa 11:1–2 to portray Jesus as the shoot and branch of Jesse (compare Luke 1:32). This portrays Jesus as the Messiah, from King David’s line. (David was Jesse’s son.)

1:28 The Lord is with you Recalls “Immanuel” (“God with us”) from Isa 7:14, which was already alluded to in Luke 1:27 (compare Matt 1:23).

1:30 Do not be afraid A common heavenly greeting and message of reassurance found throughout the Bible (e.g., vv. 30; 2:10; Judg 6:23; Dan 10:12; Rev 1:17).

1:31 Jesus From the Hebrew name Joshua, which means “Yahweh is help (or, salvation)” (see Matt 1:21).

1:32 Son of the Most High Highlights Jesus’ divinity and royalty (compare Luke 1:35, 76). give him the throne of David his father Gabriel implies that Jesus will fulfill the Davidic covenant (2 Sam 7:12–13).

1:33 the house of Jacob A common ot phrase referring to Israel (e.g., Exod 19:3; Isa 48:1). his kingdom there will be no end Gabriel again alludes to the Davidic covenant, but this allusion also evokes messianic imagery from Daniel (Dan 7:13-14).

1:34 I have no relations with a man? Luke calls Mary a virgin twice in this verse to demonstrate that Jesus’ conception was an act of God.

1:35 Son of God This title reflects Jesus’ miraculous conception and, consequently, His divinity.

1:38 the handmaid of the Lord Mary indicates that she is willing to do whatever God requires of her. 

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Church Fathers consistently referred to Mary as the New Eve, which is to say, the one who reversed the momentum started by the mother of the human race. The Ave of the angel was seen as the reversal of Eva. While Eve grasped at divinity, Mary said “Let it be done unto me.”

Here’s the liberating paradox: passivity before objective values is precisely what makes life wonderful. Allowing oneself to be invaded and rearranged by objective value is what makes life worth living. And this applies unsurpassably to our relationship with God. The message that your life is not about you does indeed crush the false self that would bend the whole world to its purposes, but it sets free the true self.

The Immaculate Conception itself is concealed in the privacy of salvation history, but the effects of it are on clear display in this Gospel. In the presence of the supreme value, we ought to say, along with Mary, “Be it done unto me!”

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.