What is announced to Mary in this Sunday’s Gospel is the revelation of all that the prophets had spoken. It is, as Paul declares in the Epistle, the mystery kept secret since before the foundation of the world (see Ephesians 1:9; 3:3-9).
Mary is the virgin prophesied to bear a son of the house of David (see Isaiah 7:13-14). And nearly every word the angel speaks to her today evokes and echoes the long history of salvation recorded in the Bible. Mary is hailed as the daughter Jerusalem, called to rejoice that her king, the Lord God, has come into her midst as a mighty savior (see Zephaniah 3:14-17).
The One whom Mary is to bear will be Son of “the Most High” — an ancient divine title first used to describe the God of the priest-king Melchizedek, who brought out bread and wine to bless Abraham at the dawn of salvation history (see Genesis 14:18-19). He will fulfill the covenant God makes with chosen one, David, in Sunday’s First Reading. As we sing in the Psalm, will reign forever as highest of the kings of the earth, and will call God “my Father.”
As Daniel saw the Most High grant everlasting dominion to the Son of Man (see Daniel 4:14; 7:14), his kingdom will have no end. He is to rule over the house of Jacob — the title God used in making his covenant with Israel at Sinai (see Exodus 19:3), and again used in promising that all nations would worship the God of Jacob (see Isaiah 2:1-5).
Jesus has been made known, Paul says in the First Reading, to bring all nations to the obedience of faith. We are called with Mary this week to marvel at all that the Lord has done throughout the ages for our salvation. And we, too, must respond to this Annunciation with humble obedience — that his will be done, that our lives be lived according to his word.
Scott Hahn is founder of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, stpaulcenter.com.
Readings: 2 Samuel 7: 1-5, 8-11, 16; Psalm 89: 2-5, 27, 29; Romans 16: 25-27; Luke 1: 26-38