Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
The Annunciation of the Archangel St. Gabriel to Our Lady. One of the oldest Marian commemorations, observed as early as the mid-fifth century in the Eastern churches. It celebrates the Blessed Virgin’s “fiat” to the Angel’s message, and the Incarnation of the Word.
First Reading – Is 7:10-14; 8:10
The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying: Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky! But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!” Then Isaiah said: Listen, O house of David! Is it not enough for you to weary people, must you also weary my God? Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us!”
Responsorial Psalm – 40:7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 11 (R. 8a and9a)
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation You wished not,
but ears open to obedience You gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings You sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.” R.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!” R.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O Lord, know. R.
Your justice I kept not hid within my heart;
your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of;
I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth
in the vast assembly. R.
Second Reading – Heb 10:4-10
Brothers and sisters: It is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats take away sins. For this reason, when Christ came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You prepared for me; in holocausts and sin offerings You took no delight. Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll, behold, I come to do your will, O God.’” First He says, “Sacrifices and offerings, holocausts and sin offerings, you neither desired nor delighted in.” These are offered according to the law. Then He says, “Behold, I come to do your will.” He takes away the first to establish the second. By this “will,” we have been consecrated through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Gospel – Lk 1:26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. 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, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
St. Dismas. The Good Thief, who acknowledged Our Lord on the cross, and merited to hear these words: “Today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Lk 23:43).
St. Lucy Filippini, virgin (†1732). She founded the Institute of Pious Teachers in Montefiascone, Italy, dedicated to the formation of women and girls.
St. Margaret Clitherow, martyr (†1586). Laywoman who converted to Catholicism in adulthood. Mother of a family, she provided shelter for persecuted priests in her house during the reign of Elizabeth I of England, for which she was imprisoned and received the crown of martyrdom on a Good Friday. Her two sons became priests and her daughter, a nun.
Blessed Placido Riccardi, priest (†1915). Benedictine monk, outstanding for his life of prayer and untiring observance of the Rule, despite chronic sickness.
Blessed Emilian Kovč, priest and martyr (†1944). Ukrainian priest of the Greek Rite, burned alive in Majdanek concentration camp, Poland, in witness to his Faith.
Blessed James Bird, martyr (†1592). At age fifteen he embraced the Catholic Faith and practised it secretly. At age nineteen he was condemned to death in his native city of Winchester, England, for refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy or participate in the heretical Liturgy.
Blessed Josaphata, virgin (†1919). She founded the Institute of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, dedicating herself to doing good wherever needed, in Chervonohrad, Ukraine.
Blessed Marie-Alfonsine Danil Ghattas, virgin (†1927). Founded the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary of Jerusalem in the Holy Land.