Bringing Jesus Into the World

for March 26th, 2014
Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent

Liturgical texts here

Henry Ossawa Tanner's The AnnunciationThe Annunciation, Henry Ossawa Tanner (1898)



BRINGING the presence of Jesus into the world is not a complicated process requiring a Masters in Divinity. It is a matter of imitating Jesus:

If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. (John 15:10)

The whole of salvation history is simply this: God calling His people to obey Him so as to be in communion with Him. In the Garden, He called Adam and Eve to obedience, and Noah and his family after the flood; Abraham, Moses, David… after each covenant God made with man, He invites them to love Him by keeping His word. Why? Because love not only unites us to God, but manifests His life and presence to our neighbour—and love is expressed in the commandments.

Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live. Observe them carefully, for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations… (First reading)

Thus, God sets the stage for the New and everlasting Covenant by asking, once again, for cooperation with His plan of salvation: obedience. And He finds it in the young Virgin Mary.

Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. —St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 22, 4: PG 7/1, 959A

By her obedience, she emptied herself so as to be filled with the Holy Spirit. And together, Mary and the Spirit produced the life of Jesus for the world. Jesus, then, by His obedience, produces saving grace for the world, leaving for us an example to follow.

Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him… (Phil 2:5-9)

Do you see the pattern? Mary, in dying to herself, brings Jesus’s presence into the world; Jesus, in dying to Himself, brings salvation. We are called to imitate them both in order to bring the life and salvation of Jesus Christ into the world.

…whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. (Gospel)

…in order to receive this salvation, we need a humble heart, a meek heart, an obedient heart. Like that of Mary. And the model for this road towards salvation is the same God, his Son, who didn’t consider being equal to God an advantage which cannot be abandoned. —POPE FRANCIS, Vatican City, Homily, March 25th, 2014



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