Week One: The Annunciation
Verses to memorize
1) For nothing will be impossible for God. (Gabriel, Luke 1:37)
2) May it be done to me according to your word. (Mary, Luke 1:38)
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:26-38 NABRE
1) This story is called the Annunciation of Our Lord. Q: What did the angel Gabriel announce? A: Mary would become pregnant and have a Son. Q: What else did Gabriel announce to Mary? A: Mary shall name him Jesus, and He will be called Son of the Most High. He will inherit the throne of His ancestor King David, the greatest of all Israelite kings who lived 1,000 years before Jesus. Q: “Why does the angel tell Mary to name the baby Jesus? A: “Jesus” in Hebrew is Yeshua/Joshua, which means “one who saves”.
2) Q: What do you think about angels? Do you believe in them? In the paintings angels have wings. But we do not know what Gabriel looked like. In the original languages of the Bible (Hebrew and Greek) the word for angel means “messenger”. Mary saw a messenger of God. There are angels all through the Bible, Old and New Testaments. God can send His messages in many different ways. Q: How did Gabriel reassure Mary? A: He said, “Do not be afraid.”
3) Q: What question did Mary ask the angel Gabriel? A: “How can this be since I am a virgin?” Q: What is a virgin? A: A woman who has had no relations with a man. Q: What was the angel’s answer to Mary’s question? A: She would become pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit. Q: What does that mean? A: The Holy Spirit would perform a miracle in Mary’s womb so that the baby Jesus would have a human mother, and God would be His father. Q: What important fact about God does Gabriel want Mary and all of us to remember? A: Nothing is impossible for God.
4) In the Gospel passages we are reading, the Holy Spirit plays an important role. Q: Who is the Holy Spirit? A: There are several answers: The third person of the Blessed Trinity; The spirit and power of God that He sends into our hearts and minds “to instruct us and remind us of what God has taught” (Jn 14:26)
5) Q: What other announcement does the angel make? A: Mary’s relative Elizabeth who was beyond childbearing age, was expecting a baby boy also.
6) Mary was engaged to Joseph at this point, but not yet married. In ancient Israel, it was considered a grave sin and disgrace for a woman to be pregnant and not married. She would be criticized and shunned by her neighbors. Even stoned to death!! Q: After the angel explained what God was ready to do with her, what brave answer did Mary give to the angel? A: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Q: What did that mean? A: Mary said “Yes” to God despite the difficulty she would face. Q: How could she do this difficult thing? A: She was a person of humble faith, and she had learned to trust God in all things.7) Q: At the moment Mary said her “Yes”, what happened? A: God became Man in her womb (a very tiny Man). Q: What do we call this mysterious miracle? A: The Incarnation, that is, God became flesh, a central dogma (teaching) of our faith.
Courtesy of The Bible Project