Feast of Annunciation to Blessed Virgin St Mary – The Theotokos – Mar 25 I Vachanip Perrunaal – Suboro I 2nd Sunday of Annunciations
The liturgical calendar of the Indian Malankara Orthodox Church commemorates the Feast of Annunciation to Blessed Virgin St Mary – the Theotokos, twice in a year – during the season of Annunciation, five weeks before the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and another on March 25.
The biblical story of the Feast of the Annunciation is found in the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke (1:26-39). The Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary, who was living in Nazareth, and said to her, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you”. Mary was perplexed and wondered what kind of greeting this was? The angel told her not to be afraid, for she had found favor with God. He said, “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.
She responded to the angel by asking how this could happen since she had no husband. The angel told her that the Holy Spirit and the power of God would come upon her, and that the child to be born of her would be called holy, the ‘Son of God’.In faith and obedience to the will of God, Mary replied to the angel, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be according to your word.” Upon her response, the angel departed. The angel then proceeded to tell the Virgin Mary that her cousin Elizabeth had conceived a son in her old age (John the Baptist), and affirmed that with God.
It is on the Feast of the Annunciation, that Orthodox Christians commemorate both the divine initiative of God, whereby He took on flesh from the Virgin for our salvation, and the human response, whereby Mary freely accepted the vocation offered to her. He elected to become man, and He desired to do this with the willing agreement of her whom He chose as His mother. Mary could have refused, for she was not a passive instrument, but an active participant with a free and positive part to play in God’s plan for our salvation. Thus, when on this and other feasts the Orthodox Church honors the Theotokos, the Mother of God, it is not just because God chose her but also because she herself chose to follow His Will. Mary agreed to God’s plan because she wanted her will to be God’s will. And she was willing to accept the joy and pain that came along with it to bring Christ to a world that waited for him.
Blessed Virgin Mary, as our Mother, is the loving gift from Jesus Christ to every man, woman, and child in the family of God. Mary was the first to conceive Jesus in her heart first, trusting Gabriel’s word. She was the first evangelizer and the first disciple of her own Son, Saviour and Lord, Jesus the Christ and the first to believe in Jesus as her Saviour, took her place in Salvation History as the first Christian. She gave the first Gospel testimony to her cousin, Elizabeth, without words. Mary, the first human to kiss the face of God.
‘Mary: Believing the Impossible’ first. Mary said “yes” at the annunciation was the greatest ever faith statement in the entire world and entire history. Mary doubtless believed that ‘God can do anything.’ There is no need to doubt or question that. Filled with humility she also wondered how the God almighty selected her, a handmaid, to bear the son of God. That is faith.