The Annunciation (March 25)
The Annunciation (March 25th)
10 "Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you," declares the Lord . 11 "Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. 12 The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem. 13 Be still before the Lord , all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling."
(A Coptic Icon from Holy Virgin Mary Church in Los Angeles - USA)
St. Luke 1
26In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." 29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." 34"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
35The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37For nothing is impossible with God." 38"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
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Greetings of peace and goodwill to all of you. Let us thank God for
His countless mercies that enabled us to acquire a place of worship.
Indeed, it is worthy investment we made for the benefit of our
youngsters. Resurrection is the condition of a deceased coming back
to life. Elijah brought back the widow's son to life, 1 K 17-24.
Elisha raised the Shunemite's son to life, 2 K 4:32-37. Jesus Christ
raised Lazarus to life, Jn 11: 1-44, the son of Nain's widow, Lk 7:
11-17, and Jairus' daughter, Mk 5: 22-24. These resurrections were
temporary as all of them died again in due time. But there is another
resurrection to immortality, which Jesus Christ alone offers to those
who believe in Him.
Jesus raised from the dead as the first fruit of the dead, 1 Cor
15:20. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is unique because He never
died again rather, defeated death. The cardinal gist of all gospels
and the quintessential reason for the very beginning, existence and
growth of Christianity was His resurrection from the dead.
Numerous testimonies affirm the fact of Jesus' resurrection. Firstly,
we have an empty tomb, Mat 28: 1-8, Mk 16:1-8, Lk 24:1-12, Jn 20: 1-
10. The disciples' natural reaction of disbelief and wonder adduces
beyond doubt that it was not a concocted story but a reality. This
reality transformed the lives of the disciples. Jesus' arrest, unfair
trials, rude persecution, crucifixion and shameful death on the
cross, made the disciples cowardice, scared, frail and without hope.
If Jesus had not resurrected they would have perished and there would
have been no Christians. Peter proclaimed, "You crucified Him but God
raised Him," Acts 4:10. Their boldness and fervor as recorded in the
Bible sufficiently prove the reality of resurrection.
But there are arguments against resurrection. (1) Jesus did not
actually die but had only fainted and revived in the comfort of the
tomb. The law forbids remaining the bodies on the cross on Sabbath.
To ascertain death of the crucified victim before removal from the
cross they went to break His legs. They did not break His legs as he
had already died. Then they pierced his side. Blood and water
gushedout, Jn 19:31-37. Blood disintegrates at death. Blood will come
but not water when living body is pierced (like broken milk). (2)
Illusion theory is that Mary Magdalene saw the gardener and mistook
for Jesus. Jesus came into the room when it was shut and spoke to
them, Jn 20: 19. He was also seen to Cephas, then the twelve and 500
at a time, 1Cor 15:5-6. He walked and ate with them. (3)
Hallucination theory has that, since the disciples were so fondly
hoping for reunion with Jesus, in their utter imbroglio and unstable
psyche they thought they saw Jesus. Truly, Mary did not expect
resurrection but thought someone stole the body. Disciples also
disbelieved, Mk 16:11. (4) Spiritual resurrection argument is that
great men live through their teachings. Jesus lives like Confucius or
Tolstoy. How then, the tomb was empty? Despite many archeological
excavations remains of Jesus have never been found. Thus all the
theories are absurd.
Seven testimonies attest the reality of resurrection. 1, He pacified
the fearful and trembling disciples, Jn 20:21. 2, He rebuked two men
on the way to Emmaus, "O foolish ones and slow of heart," Lk 24:
25.3, He exhorted Thomas, "not to be unbelieving but believing" Jn
20:27. 4, He instructed Peter, "cast the net on the right side of the
boat," Jn 20:6. 5, He initiated Peter's confession and commissioned
him to feed the lambs and sheep, Jn 21:15-17. 6, Commanded to preach
gospel to all creature unto the uttermost parts of the earth, Mk
16:15. 7, He said, "I am with you always, even until the end of the
world," Mat 28:20.
Resurrection of Jesus gave us the hope of eternity. Can there be
Christianity without the resurrection? Because Christ has risen we
have assurance of resurrection. Since He lives we will also live with
Him. If we have no hope of resurrection why Christ died? How
forgiveness benefits us if we have no hope of resurrection? It would
mean that God has no victory over death and all our ancestors are
blasphemers and we still live in sin. The Church declares that Jesus
Christ truly resurrected and that is our ultimate hope. May His peace
be our anchor! Wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. John K K, Vicar.