Let It Be Done

Scripture Reading

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

1:28 Hail: Or “Rejoice!” It crowns the theme of joy and gladness that punctuates Luke’s Infancy Narrative (1:14, 44, 47, 58; 2:10, 20). ● The call to rejoice echoes OT passages that address Daughter Zion. In the prophets this refers to Mother Jerusalem, whose faithful children will rejoice in the messianic age because God has chosen to dwell in their midst (Joel 2:23–24; Zeph 3:14–17; Zech 9:9). Mary, chosen to be the virgin mother of the Messiah, is greeted with the same summons because she is the embodiment of faithful Israel and the most privileged recipient of Yahweh’s messianic blessings. full of grace: This is the only biblical instance where an angel addresses someone by a title instead of a personal name. 

1:31 Jesus: A Hebrew name meaning “Yahweh saves” (CCC 430). See note on Mt 1:21.

1:32–33 Jesus is the awaited Messiah from David’s dynastic line (2 Sam 7:12–16; Ps 89:26–29; 132:11; Is 9:6–7). Following Jewish custom, Joseph’s legal fatherhood was equivalent to natural fatherhood in matters of inheritance. Joseph thus confers the privileges of a Davidic descendant upon Jesus (1:27),whereas God the Father anoints him as king (Mk 16:19) (CCC 437).

1:33 the house of Jacob: i.e., the kingdom of Israel. 

1:34 How can this be: Or, better, “How will this be …?” Mary is not questioning God’s ability to give her a son, but she is inquiring as to how such a plan will unfold. I have no husband: The Greek text literally reads “I do not know man”, which refers to Mary’s virginal status rather than her marital status. 

1:35 overshadow you: The conception of Jesus within the womb of Mary will be entirely supernatural, i.e., the result of God’s creative work within her (Mt 1:18–25; CCC 497, 723). Gabriel mentions the Holy Spirit, the Most High, and the Son of God, offering Mary a glimpse of the Trinity

1:37 nothing will be impossible: Gabriel’s reassurance casts its light over the entirety of Lk 1. He insists that God can surmount every obstacle to motherhood, including the infertility of Elizabeth and the virginity of Mary (CCC 269, 273). The statement carries overtones of the OT, especially Gen 18:14 and Jer 32:17.

1:38 let it be to me: Mary freely and actively embraces God’s invitation to bear the Messiah. The Greek expression denotes more than mere passive acceptance, indicating that she wishes or desires to fulfill God’s will in her life. Unlike Zechariah, she welcomes the angel’s words uninhibited by doubt (CCC 148, 494, 2617).[1]

Scripture Reflection

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. 

 

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch, “Introduction to the Gospels,” in The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 105.