In the sixth month, 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.
Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB
Commentary of the day :
Saint John Damascene (c.675-749), monk, theologian, Doctor of the Church
Homily on the Nativity of the Virgin, § 9 ; SC 80
“Hail, full of grace!”
This woman will be the Mother of God, the door to light, source of life; she will reduce to oblivion the judgement that weighed on Eve. “The rich among the people seek the face” of this woman, “the kings of the nations shall pay her homage”, they shall “offer gifts”…, yet the glory of the Mother of God is an interior glory: the fruit of her womb.
O woman, so worthy of love, thrice happy, “blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Daughter of David the king and Mother of God, King of the universe, masterpiece in whom the Creator rejoices…: you are to be nature’s full achievement. For you life is not yours; you were not born for yourself alone; but your life is to be God’s. You came into the world for him, you will serve for the salvation of all people, fulfilling God’s design established from the beginning: the incarnation of the Word and our own divinization. Your whole desire is to feed on the words of God, to be strengthened by their sap, like “a green olive tree in the house of God”, “like a tree planted by running water”, you are the “tree of life” who “yielded its fruit in due season”…
He who is infinite, limitless, came to dwell in your womb; God, the child Jesus, was nourished by your milk. You are the ever virginal doorway of God; your hands hold your God; your lap is a throne raised up above the cherubim… You are the wedding chamber of the Spirit, the “city of the living God, gladdened by the runlets of the stream”, that is to say the waves of the Spirit’s gifts. You are “all fair, the Beloved” of God.
( Biblical references : Ps 44,13; 71,11.10; Mt 2,11; Lk 1,42; Is 62,5; Ps 51,10; 1,3; cf Gn 2,9, Rv 22,2; cf Ez 44,2; Ps 79,2; cf Sg 1,4; Ps 45,5; Sg 4,7)
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