At first blush it does seem odd that the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord falls in the midst of Lent. It is an event in the life of Christ that we associate with Advent. That scene in which the Angel Gabriele comes to Mary to announce she will be the mother of Emmanuel, “God with us.”
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. Continue reading
This coming Sunday is the 4th Sunday in Lent, Year C: the Prodigal Son. The parable offers that the father has extended unconditional forgiveness to both sons prior to their repentance. What then does this say about the fuller meaning of repentance?
The parable of the Lost Sheep ends with: “I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” The parable of the Lost Coin ends with: “In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Taken at face value, the idea of a sheep repenting is only slightly less absurd than the idea of a coin repenting. Continue reading