Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Annunciation to St. Mary
Volume 5 No. 314 November 20, 2015
 
I. This Sunday in Church -
Annunciation to St. Mary
Bible Readings for This Sunday (Nov 22)

Lectionary Period: Koodosh Eetho to Kothne

Sermons for This Sunday (Nov 22)

Malankara World Supplement on St. Mary

For more articles, hymns, prayers, and eBooks on St. Mary, please visit Malankara World Supplement on St. Mary here:

http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/shunoyo/StMary.htm

From Malankara World Journal Archives

Malankara World Journals with the Theme: Annunciation to St. Mary

Volume 5 No 271: March 24 2015
Special: Annunciation to St. Mary

Volume 4 No 247: November 21, 2014
Theme: Lessons from St. Mary - Faith

Volume 3 No 132: Mar 21 2013
Palm Sunday and Annunciation to St. Mary

Volume 2 No 111: Nov 29 2012
Theme: Advent - Magnificat, The Canticle of Mary

Volume 2 No 110: Nov 22 2012
Theme: Advent - Annunciation to St. Mary

Volume 2 No 65: March 22 2012

Volume 1 No 39: November 17 2011

Featured: The Eternal King is Coming - Jesus' Birth Foretold

by Fr. John Mckinnon

Gospel: Luke 1:26-38

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town in Galilee called Nazareth
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph from the house of David,
and the virgin's name was Mary.

To do justice to the fact that Jesus was known as a native of Nazareth, Luke began the story of Jesus with his mother already living there.

Luke was anxious to emphasize the virginal conception of Jesus. He also made explicit the point that Joseph was a descendant of David, and that Jesus would consequently be seen to be such.

28 On entering, he said to her,
"Rejoice, woman endowed with grace,
The Lord is with you."

29 On hearing him speak, she was deeply disturbed,
and wondered what kind of greeting it could be.

30 The angel said to her,
"Do not be frightened, Mary.
You have found favour with God.
31 Look, you will conceive in your womb
and will bear a son,
and you shall call his name Jesus.

32 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,
33 and he will rule over the house of Jacob for ever,
and his reign will have no end."

34 Mary then said to the angel,
"How will this be, since I am still unmarried?"

35 In answer, the angel said to her,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you,
and so the holy one you will bear
will be called Son of God.
36 And, look, your relation Elizabeth, in her old age,
has conceived a son
and this is now the sixth month
for her who was called sterile.
37 With God, nothing is impossible."

38 Mary then said, "Look, I am God's servant girl.
May it happen to me, just as you said."

And the angel left her.

The noticeable absence of actual detail about an extra-marital pregnancy, that would normally have caused extreme tension, would confirm the judgment that Luke was not in fact interested in giving his readers "history", and may even have been totally ignorant of details. His concern was to provide a framework on which to base his theological reflection.

The point of the angelic witness was to make the point that the unique origin of Christ was a truth accessible only to faith. That truth involved the following:

Mary's child would be conceived solely through the intervention and power of God, identified by Luke as the Holy Spirit, the Most High.

The child would be great;
he would assume the definitive leadership role of his father David and rule as king over Israel forever.

The child would be holy, and would be called Son of God, and Son of the Most High.

Luke had no trouble in claiming Jesus to be the Christ (or kingly descendant of David). He also hinted at the special holiness of Jesus, though the titles he used Son of God, Son of the Most High were titles already current in the Scriptures and had been applied by God to David:

"I will be father to him and he a son to me" (2 Samuel 7:14).

It had been used in the Psalms as a prerogative of the Messiah:

"You are my son, today I have become your father." (Psalm 2:7)

Luke was not using the titles in any strict theological or trinitarian sense.

Luke also made clear one of his reasons for his earlier reference to the special conception of John. Both were the fruit of the special intervention of God, though Jesus had no earthly father.

Luke was also concerned to contrast the attitudes of Zechariah, the embodiment of the establishment, and Mary, the representative of the "Poor of Yahweh". Zechariah's questioning had expressed his reluctance to believe. Mary's question was purely for further information. Her response was one of total openness to the will of God.

Mary's Virginity

Centuries of Christian devotion have invested virginity with an aura of virtuous innocence. It has become an attribute even of honour. It was not viewed that way in Israel. Virginity was simply a necessary prelude to motherhood. What Israel respected were motherhood, fertility, and fruitfulness. Were one to remain a virgin, the response was to bewail one's state. The "Virgin daughter of Israel" was a title of lamentation.

If Luke emphasized Mary's virginity, it would seem that he did so simply because he could not do otherwise. It was a fact, already well embedded in the tradition.

Deeper Meanings. Given, however, that his interest was more in symbols than in details, what meaning might he have been trying to convey?

Later tradition has come to see Mary as the model disciple. In what way does she model discipleship through her virginity?

Virginity speaks of openness, of potentiality. It has no content of its own. It is emptiness.

Mary's emptiness was of itself invitation to the action of God. "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word."

Through the intervention of God, Mary, the virgin, became mother, life-bearer, life-giver. But it was all God's doing. Her fruitfulness was the product of
her emptiness,
her total openness to God,
and the action of God.

Mary as Model.

Mary's stance becomes the attitude of every true disciple. The true disciple stands empty before God. The concern of the true disciple is to move towards utter emptiness of spirit, requiring the death to self that Jesus would stress later in the narrative. At the same time, that emptiness becomes the context from where the spirit calls out to God, and desires and seeks God and God alone. The fruitfulness of the disciple is always the result solely of the action of God. Only God makes the disciple life-giver.

Mary was essentially both virgin and mother. The call of every Christian disciple is to be always both virgin and mother - empty of self yet life-giver to others. It is the call of male and female, married or unmarried.

Mary's physical virginity paled in comparison to her spiritual virginity. Though she became mother and life-bearer (and would continue to be so as Mother of the Church), yet she remained always virginal, and has been hailed for centuries as: "Ever-virgin Mary and Mother of God".

Copyright 2015 John McKinnon

Annunciation To St. Mary
"An archangel was sent from Heaven to say to the Theotokos:

Rejoice! And beholding Thee, O Lord, taking bodily form,
he was amazed and with his bodiless voice he stood crying
to Her such things as these:

Rejoice, Thou through whom joy will shine forth:

Rejoice, Thou through whom the curse will cease!

Rejoice, recall of fallen Adam:

Rejoice, redemption of the tears of Eve!

Rejoice, height inaccessible to human thoughts:

Rejoice, depth undiscernible even for the eyes of angels!

Rejoice, for Thou art the throne of the King:

Rejoice, for Thou bearest Him Who beareth all!

Rejoice, star that causest the Sun to appear:

Rejoice, womb of the Divine Incarnation!

Rejoice, Thou through whom creation is renewed:

Rejoice, Thou through whom we worship the Creator!

Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!"

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