Basilica of the Annunciation
It was to a small community, a small remote village,
that the angel Gabriel came to announce to the young Mary the great historic event that was about to take place within
her womb. There may have been no more than 120 to 150 souls living there at the time. The area had surely been overrun by the Assyrian invaders in earlier times
(2 Kings 17:5), and repopulated only later by members of the line of David returning as exiles from Babylonia.
Joseph and Mary were known to have been of the lineage of David and Jesus described the citizens of the town as being “His own relatives and … His own household” (Mark 6:4).
It may have been toward the end of the day, as sundown approached that the angel Gabriel appeared to the young Mary (Luke 1:26-38). She must have been at least momentarily shocked by such a vision, but Gabriel said:
“Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Of course she could not see how this was possible since she had known no man, but Gabriel explained that the Holy Spirit would come over her and that her child would be the Son of God. And Mary, demonstrating her complete faith in God, said: “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”
As you enter into the Church of the Annunciation you are impressed by its grandeur. Moving on to the lower level you are confronted with the Grotto of the Annunciation,
the very remains of Mary’s childhood home surrounded by the remnants of an earlier church structure. Looking within the grotto you can see where Mary once lived and where the angel Gabriel approached her as she was preparing the dinner meal. Although the surrounding church has been repeatedly destroyed over the ages and rebuilt,
the site of the annunciation remains.
Experience this site as a reminder of the faithfulness of the mother of Christ and of her readiness to do God’s will.
Let us so endeavor to live our lives that we too may become vessels of God’s will as a blessing to others.