Devotional thoughts for Sunday 21 Nov 04. Annunciation to H. Mother, St. Mary
- Reading: Gospel according to St. Luke 1: 26-38
Dear and Respected Brethren,
The theme of this weeks reading is the Annunciation to St. Mary, the most blessed mother of God. The Oriental Orthodox Churches celebrates this day on two days, the first one being on 25th March every year, having a fixed date. The second one would be on a Sunday in accordance with the Church Calendar. From this itself one could assume how much importance the Holy Church is granting to this event. When the incident took place, St. Mary was a young girl in her early teenage. The way in which she responded to God�s will make her unique, great and highly blessed. She surrendered herself absolutely to the will of God and offered her for the consequences thereafter. She was not concerned about herself or the sufferings she had to undertake due to her surrender. In verse 26 and 27 we read, �In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David and the virgin�s name was Mary. We have learnt that this is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah (7:14) �Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign, behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel�. St. Matthew has quoted this prophecy in his Gospel and has given the literal meaning of the term Immanuel as God is with us. (St. Matthew 1:23) In verse 28 we find the origin of our prayer �Hail Mary�, where we read, �And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women�. We should not forget that those who oppose the intercession of St. Mary are arguing / speaking against the Biblical truth. Angel Gabriel was only a messenger of God and when he said �Hail Mary, you are blessed among women�, he was not talking on his own capacity, whereas he was conveying/carrying the verses of God Almighty. So we could say that those who are reluctant to honor St. Mary as the Mother of God and to seek her intercession are not doing justice to God and His will. In verse 30, angel Gabriel consoles St. Mary and in verse 31 we find the real annunciation to her. �And behold, thou shall conveive in thy womb, and bring forth a son and shall call his name Jesus.�
Jesus is the transliteration of the Hebrew word �Joshua� meaning �Jehovah is salvation� i.e., �is the savior�. The name was given to the son of God in incarnation as His personal name. In the Gospels as well as the acts of Apostles, we find this name frequently. In verse 32 we read about Gabriel�s description about the son to be born. We read, �He shall be great, and shall be called the son of the Highest and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David�. The angel says two things about our Lord. 1) He shall be great. In Philippians 2:10 we read, That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth and things under the earth.� What we find here as the confession of St. Paul are the repetition of the prophecy of Isaiah. (45:23) 2ndly he says the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. (Kindly refer 2 Samuel 7: 11, Psalms 132: 11, Isaiah 9: 6-7, and Jeremiah 23:5) When St. Mary asked how the incident would take place (Verse 34) the angel replied, �the Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God�. In St. Matthew 14:33 we read, �Then they that were in the shop came and worshipped him and said of a truth, you are the son of God�. Kindly read, St. John 20:31, Acts 8:37 and Romans 1:4)
As a continuation of his briefing, the angel told St. Mary about the miracle enjoyed by Elizabeth, who had crossed the age of conceiving according to the human understanding. (Verse 36) In verse 37 we read about his confirmation that nothing is impossible to God. We all are praying for our needs and we would place the needs in front of God whenever we would get a chance. But many of us are placing our needs before God with a mind of 50% of hope or less than that. We all would say with our lips that nothing is impossible to God, at the same time in our minds the faith wont be so strong and deep. That is why we are not getting favourbale replies to our prayers always. Make it a point to believe in our hearts strongly that our Lord God could do everything, which might be impossible for human ideas and hands.
In verse 38 we find the humblest approach as the response of the young girl before God Almighty. She was bought up in a special situation, when and where she had staunch faith, strong conviction and sound belief. She utilized her wisdom about God to surrender herself 100 % for God�s disposal. Now let us think what would have been our response, if you and me were in that small girl�s place? How many times our Lord might have asked so many things from us, which we might have denied and ignored mercilessly. Let us repent well for our past lives and seek the intercession of the blessed mother of God. Let her intercession guide us in the true path. Let us submit our church to her intercession.
May God bless us all.
Jose Kurian Puliyeril
St. George Orthodox Church
Member ID # 0905