The Annunciation

Today’s gospel is a familiar part of the Christmas story – the Angel Gabriel inviting Mary into the plans of God for redemption and salvation of the world. Given its proximity to Christmas, I suspect we quickly want to jump the 9 months and have our thoughts move quickly to the Nativity of Jesus. But let us put things on “pause” for a moment and savor the scene on its own – as have Da Vinci, Rembrandt, El Greco and countless iconographers over the ages.

My friend, Fr. Bill McConville OFM, notes that part of the church’s art tradition is that the scene of the Annunciation often portrays Mary, not empty-handed, but holding a book or a scroll, her reading and reflecting on Scripture being interrupted by the angel’s pronouncement. The tradition is that she is meditating on Isaiah 7 (today’s first reading) in which there is the promise that a virgin will bear a child. Perhaps. Continue reading