A message from Father David for the Feast of the Annunciation
The Annunciation of our Lord March 25, 2020
Today, our Christian Community celebrates the Annunciation of Mary. It is a feast day that happens during the Lenten Season. Many of us welcome this day; in gratitude for Mary’s “YES” to God; that she would bear our saviour, the one that would give us ‘the Bread of Live;’ the one who would become our ‘Good Shepherd;’ the one who is “the Light in time of darkness.” She would bring forth, “Emmanuel… God With Us.” But as well, we welcome the change in our Mass: penitent ‘purple’ changed to celebratory ‘white’ and the addition of the long quieted “Gloria.” Again, all in gratitude for God’s gift and Mary’s “Yes” for her Son and our brother, Jesus Christ.
My dear friends, we are still in the season of Lent. For us as a parish to live our Lenten theme, “Living Lent with Love and Laughter,” has become a real challenge. In these unprecedented times that we are living in, “social distancing,” “self isolation,” and “working from home” (with kids home from school); grim new of people succumbing to the dreaded Covid 19 disease around the world, I find myself asking, “Where is Jesus in all of this?” “And our Blessed Mother, is she hearing our prayers?” How can we think of the Love and Laughter of our Lenten theme during these turbulent times? Today, we are invited to look at this monumental and awesome way that our Blessed Mother opened her heart to God.
Mary experienced everything that we are feeling in this difficult time that we are living in. As a pregnant teen in Ancient Palestine, she was very vulnerable. To be pregnant and not have a husband was punishable by death- stoning. And yet she did not let fear ravage her heart. Remember she said, “Here I am, the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your Word.” In other words, she trusted that God would be with her through it all. To be sure, she felt the lack of support from her community… people would have been fearful to associate with her because of her condition. No doubt like ourselves, she too, practised “social distancing” or “self-isolation” for her own protection. I am sure that in that quiet time by herself, praying to God, Mary knew that God would bring her through this challenging time into something beautiful. And God did! God gave humanity His only Son through Mary. Humanity has been grateful to God and to Mary’s “yes” ever since!
What about us? What has Mary taught us? Even though our church buildings, (along with schools, and work spaces) are silent now, we are still “The Church” Yes, gathering for Mass is not possible, but we are called to be ‘The bread of life’ for others. Therefore, have we united ourselves with our sisters and brothers from extreme North or regions such as the Amazon who have Mass every other month or ‘once a year’? Yes, Adoration is not possible now, but do we ever look at Jesus, The Bread of Life, present in our hearts?’ Do we recognize the many ‘good shepherds’ who are leading us through these difficult times: Political and Civil leaders; those on the front lines doctors, nurses, all health care workers. But as well, look at those who are checking out our groceries and stocking their shelves to ensure we have food. Or those spraying down our carts with disinfectant to help stop the spread the virus. Our First Responders who are keeping us safe in these difficult times to name just a few who are ‘shepherding us.’
Or how are we being the “Light to those in darkness?” Do we provide a smile to the stressed out shopper, a distant wave to a neighbour or do we provide a phone call to those who live alone, checking to see if they are okay? Are we complying with the call not gathering in groups of people? Are we praying for each other, spending some time in quiet prayer?
These are the things that Jesus tried to point out to others who followed him; to those who searched for acceptance; those who wanted to change the ‘current situation.’ My dear friends this beautiful Feast, The Annunciation of the Lord, calls us to continue our mission: to pray, protect and pursue. Yes, Mary continues to present our petitions to her Son. And Jesus is here in the midst of all that we are experiencing. We need to do our part knowing that Emmanuel, God is (and always will be) with us.