The Annunciation of the Lord
Today is a most wonderful Solemnity! We behold the moment when all heaven and earth held its breath, waiting to hear the answer of a most pure and grace-filled Maiden to an invitation from the Heavenly Father to become the Mother of His Son. All creation was held in the balance at that moment. Would Mercy win, would Salvation come, would God become incarnate? Would she say “yes”?
We all know the answer. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, let it be unto me according to Thy Word.”
Here is Fr. Mariko’s homily:
At that time Jesus left Samaria for Galilee. For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his native place. When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves had gone to the feast. Then he returned to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, who was near death. Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” The royal official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus said to him and left. While the man was on his way back, his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live. He asked them when he began to recover. They told him, “The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon.” The father realised that just at that time Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live,” and he and his whole household came to believe. Now this was the second sign Jesus did when he came to Galilee from Judea. (John 4, 43-54)
In the words Jesus gives to the royal official, we can hear a sort of an objection – “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” This objection is Jesus’ invitation for us to strive to believe, not to seek only to see something, not to run for signs and miracles, for quick healings, but to believe!
To believe in Jesus! Not to look for Him only when we need something, that would be the case of this royal official, not just to gain something from Him, for Him to do something for us, to fulfill our desires, to hear our prayers, to heal us and others, but to believe in Him, to construct a personal relationship with Him, so that He would be important to us no matter if it is hard or easy for us, when we have the corona virus or when all is fine.
This time of pandemic, isolation and solitude is the time of faith! This is not the time to run from one church to the other, from one Holy Communion to the other, from one spiritual director to the other, from one seminar to the other.
This is the time of faith! Faith in God – that God is with us, that we are His beloved children, that we live in Him, as St. Paul says. This is the time of entrusting ourselves, our lives, our families and other people to Jesus.
As I was reflecting on that, I recalled the message Our Lady gave on February 25, 2020: “Dear children! In this time of grace, I desire to see your faces transformed in prayer. You are so flooded by earthly concerns; you do not even feel that spring is at the threshold. You are called, little children, to penance and prayer. As nature fights in silence for new life, also you are called to open yourselves in prayer to God, in Whom you will find peace and warmth of the spring sun in your hearts. Thank you for having responded to my call.”
The winter is coming to the end, the spring is here and warmth too, the first buds appear on the trees and this is the sign of the new life. This is the fruit of the gentle and wonderous touch of the sun and nature, of the warm sun rays and the plants. It is not something that can be seen in the noise, rather in the interior and in the silence. For us it seems like a silence, but inside that plant a battle is being waged – nature fights in the silence for new life and this battle is the process of transfiguration.
“What is the silence?” he asked this simple hermit.
The man from the town nodded his head and remained silent. Suddenly, the sun came out and the hermit pointed to a plant with gentle buds. “Each day the sun’s rays fall on these buds and they open one by one. This is what I call silence.”
And he decided to remain with the hermit to get to know the silence.
But this is not something that will simply occur. There will be a battle before all this can take place. When Jesus speaks about the importance of a hidden place in which one prays, fasts and gives alms, He takes us from the surface into the depth of the experience. There, in the heart, we encounter God who sees in secret. Only in the silence of our heart can we experience God’s gaze and feel the rays of His love shine on us.
“So true prayer demands that we be more passive than active; it requires more silence than words, more adoration than study, more concentration than rushing about, more faith than reason. We must understand thoroughly that true prayer is a gift from heaven to earth, the Father to his child; from the Bridegroom to the bride, from Him who has to him who has not, from Everything to nothing.” (Carlo Carretto, Letters from the Desert)
Jesus forbade His disciples to talk about His Transfiguration because their hearts were still not transformed. Those hearts would be transformed only after the battle, when the “Son of Man rises from the dead”; only after Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Morning and the Descent of the Holy Spirit on them.
Homily for March 23, 2020 Fr. Marinko – Medjugorje
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
©Mary TV 2020
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