Thursday March 25, 2004 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier   Feast of the Annunciation

 

Reading I (Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10)   Reading II (Hebrews 10:4-10)

 Gospel (St. Luke 1:26-38)

 

As we celebrate today the Feast of the Annunciation, we must remember also that really we celebrate the Feast of the Incarnation. Today is the day that God became man in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The divine condescension and the divine humility that is involved in this feast and in this mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ is something which boggles the human mind. We cannot even begin to grasp how much God loves us and how much He is willing to do to be able to demonstrate that. We still like to go around thinking how horrible and worthless we are when God over and over again tries to make clear that it is not true. One could ask, “How much more evidence do we need other than the fact that God took on our human nature?” As Saint Paul makes very clear at the end of the second reading, we have been consecrated: By this will we have been consecrated through the offering of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Again, not only does God take our human nature to Himself, raising up our nature to a divine level and raising us up to a divine nature to act and to be in a divine manner, but He has consecrated each one of us. He has set us aside for a holy purpose. He has chosen us.

 

Now it does not make sense to us why this would happen, but try to make sense of why God would become a man. We are not going to make sense of that either. We still have all kinds of objections as to the idea that we would be able to be called by God, that we would be loved by God, that God would actually want us, sinners that we are, to do something extraordinary, or even to do something which is ordinary. Yet as the angel said to Our Lady: Nothing shall be impossible for God. If God is willing to become one of us, to come down to our level, to live a human life, to be within the holy and beautiful womb of Our Blessed Lady, and then of course to go through His Passion and Death for us, why would we think that He would not do anything else for us? Why do we think we are so bad that He would not want us? Look at what He has done for us.

 

What we need to focus on is how much God loves us, and just what He is willing to do to bring us to Himself. We know that there is an enemy who is trying to keep us from God, and yet God will do anything to be able to bring us to Himself. The only thing that God will not do is force us. He has given us a free will and we have to make a choice. He will not force us to do His Will; He will not force us to accept His love; we have to choose. And if we keep coming up with all the rationalizations as to why it cannot happen, then we have chosen Satan and all of his lies. Now we have to remember, of course, in what the devil is telling us there is certainly some truth. “Look at your sins! Look at how badly you’ve offended God! Look at what you’ve done! Look at this, look at that, look at the other thing!” Those things may all be true, but look at what the devil has done. He has gotten us to focus on ourselves and not on God. It is time that we get the focus where it belongs to look at Jesus and stop looking at ourselves.

 

Remember, those are the two eternal choices. Hell is going to be looking at yourself for the rest of eternity, and that really is a perfect description of hell. What a miserable existence! Focusing on ourselves for the rest of eternity! No hope, no possibility of ever getting out of it, nothing – because we cannot save ourselves. We have no ability within ourselves to overcome ourselves, so why do we want to focus on ourselves? If we want to do that, we are already doing exactly what the devil wants and we are preparing ourselves for eternity in hell. Why? Get the focus where it belongs, and that is on Jesus, Who can save us, Who can free us from our sinfulness and from ourselves, and Who wants us for Himself.

 

If we keep looking at it and saying, “It doesn’t make sense,” then we are heading the wrong direction. When Our Lady looked at the angel and said, basically, “It doesn’t make sense; how can this be?” the angel explained to her, “This is how it’s going to happen and nothing will be impossible for God.” Our Lady did not say, “Well, I don’t understand it, so therefore it can’t be; therefore, forget it.” She said, Be it done unto me according to Thy word. The Word of God is Jesus Christ. Let it be done to me according to Thy word, O God. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us so that we could become God, so that we could share in the divine nature. He came to us so that we can come to Him. No, it does not make sense, and it never will because it is an act of love, not an act of reason. So quit trying to reason it out and figure it out because it will never happen. Just accept the love of God and put the focus where it belongs, on the Incarnation of Jesus Christ and on the salvation which follows from it, so that we can prepare ourselves by looking at Him for an eternity with Him. That is the only thing that matters. Accept God’s Will, accept His love, put the focus on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and prepare yourself for eternity with God.

 

 

*  This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.