Fourth Sunday Advent 2011 Annunciation Mass and Reflections

Theme : Love

Scripture Readings for Sunday's Mass are here and various reflections can be found here

                                       Annunciation sculpture from Basilica of the Annunciation , Nazareth, Israel.

From the Gospel (Luke):
 "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."

 "But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be."

This is one of the occasions when I wish the homily could be delivered by a woman. 

Mary was only about 14 years of age and she must have been truly terrified at the words of Gabriel.
This painfully young mother-to-be would have had a lot of explaining to do from the moment she said her Yes. 

Mary received an incredible blessing, the calling to carry and care for Jesus as His mother,  but also a burden that must have brought her a remarkable level of anxiety and pain. 

For once Mary had said her yes, she was set on a pathway to the cross and her son's crucifixion.

Somehow she was able to find the strength within herself to lean upon her faith, and trust that the future would be alright. 

Ron Rolheiser talks about Gestating Hope into Reality here.

The Overshadow
Luci Shaw

When we think of God, and
angels, and the Angel,
we suppose ineffable light.

So there is surprise in the air
when we see him bring to Mary,
in her lit room, a gift of darkness.

What is happening under that
huge wing of shade? In that mystery
what in-breaking wildness fills her?

She is astonished and afraid; even in
that secret twilight she bends her head,
hiding her face behind the curtain

Of her hair; she knows that
the rest of her life will mirror
this blaze, this sudden midnight.

Gabriel's Message from the Basque Carol

Video and beautiful sung hymn from The Church Of The Annunciation, Nazareth, Israel.

 The church was established in the place where, according to Roman Catholic tradition, the Annunciation took place.

In other words, it is the location where Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a virgin, was visited by the Archangel Gabriel and told that she had been selected to be the mother of Jesus. 

The Greek Orthodox tradition holds that this event occurred while Mary was drawing water from the well in Nazareth, and erected St. Gabriel's Church at that alternate site.

The current church is a two-story building, erected over the site of an earlier Byzantine and Crusader church. Inside, the lower level contains the Grotto of the Annunciation, believed by many Christians to be the actual remains of the original childhood home of Mary.

Under Roman Catholic canon law, it enjoys the status of a minor basilica.

It is a historically significant and sacred site.

The basilica attracts many Catholic, Anglican, and Eastern Orthodox Christian visitors every year.

This narrated video is also of the church

Here on Earth
Anne Porter
The old man living
In his rented room

Grows lonely as the night comes on
Especially in winter
And the boy shooting drugs
On the tenement roof

Is lonely whether or not
He has companions
Lovers lie sleeping
Side by side

A wilderness between them
And their unborn infant

Is already alone

So soon to be discarded

Even as he begins
Unfolding in the womb

Of his lonely mother
Because the scatterer
Has overtaken us

Betraying promises
Estranging lovers
Tearing us inwardly
And tearing us apart
One from another
And this is why
Those of us who are sated

Find it so easy to ignore
Those of us who are starving
And why we have been known
To torture one another

Why there are times
When we are far more cruel
Than the animals.
Taken all together

Or taken one by one
We are the holiest
Of all earth's creatures
For he who kindled
The fire of the sun

He who draws out the tender leaves
From the dark twigs of winter
He who has whittled
A cabin for the snail

Has also carved our names
In the palm of his hand
And he became a child
The better to be near us

Born in the wintertime

Born on a journey
He grew to be a man
And lived among us

To be our healing
When we were sick

Our bread
When we were hungry

To be the wine
At all our weddings
He suffered at our hands
And he forgave us

He sweat from head to foot
With human anguish

And shedding every drop of blood
To give us each other
He gave himself to us
That we might live forever
He gave us even more
Than he has given the angels.

This video is someone's personal video of the Church of The Annunciation.
There is no narrative other than the Ave Maria playing as a background. The video of the inside of the church is very clear and shows the cave inside the basilica where it is thought that Mary lived.

Despite the usual queues, the incessant images of tourists taking photos and poses beside statues etc , for some reason that I can't explain I found it very moving..........

Some Say You're Lucky
By Gregory Orr‏

Some say you're lucky
If nothing shatters it.

But then you wouldn't
Understand poems or songs.
You'd never know
Beauty comes from loss.

It's deep inside every person:
A tear tinier
Than a pearl or thorn.

It's one of the places
Where the beloved is born.

Father Austin has a fine preview here at A Concord Pastor Comments, of this Sunday's scripture and also has a video of the artist John Collier discussing this unusual painting below of The Annunciation.

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