Every year almost I hear a homily reminding us today is about the conception of Mary, not Jesus. It’s almost as if the preacher is disavowing the gospel reading. Indeed, perhaps the account of the Annunciation is not the best choice. With my luck, it’s probably a traditional choice for the feast. You can’t go outside the canon of Scripture, like an Orthodox antiphon:
Rejoice, O Anna! Joachim, rejoice!
Today in wondrous manner
you bear to the world
the fruit of grace and salvation.
But maybe a shorter passage would suffice:
And Mary said:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name. (Luke 1:46-49)
Just got back from Mass, and the homilist tied the reading of the Annunciation pretty well into the feast. So maybe I’ll reconsider my Lectionary criticism. I still like that Orthodox antiphon, though.
Also excellent is H.D. Tanner’s painting, well reflected upon here. I always thought Mary’s expression suggested something more of an angelic, cheeky, “You’ve got to be kidding.”
Nothing is impossible with God, after all.