Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Just as the year can be conceived as beginning on various days—January 1st (civil), September 1st (religious), March 21st (spring begins)—so can various days in the Church calendar be conceived as the beginning of the Gospel.

I like to think of September 1st, “Indiction,” commemorating the Christ’s inauguration of His earthly ministry by reading the prophecy of Isaiah in the synagogue service, as the “beginning” of the Gospel.

Holy evangelist Mark is much simpler and more direct, The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God—It is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way, a voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ” And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins…

But another “beginning” of the Gospel, the Good News, is today’s feast-day, commemorating the annunciation to Mary the virgin, of God’s will that she become the mother of His Son, the Messiah. This feast is called in Greek, Ευαγγελισμός, Evangelismós, ‘announcing the Good News.’ And for Mary, just as for us, it was God’s Word coming to her, personally. His Word could have been met with deaf ears or ears hearing but not receiving. She, just as we, could have said, can say, “No thanks!” to God. That would have gotten her, and us, “off the hook.” Instead, she said “No” to her fears and doubts, and “Yes” to what God had chosen her for from before the foundation of the world. And it’s always just the same for us.

God has foreknown us from before the foundation of the world, and ever since we were born into it by His will (and it’s the only act He has done to us without asking our permission, creating us), He has been announcing to us, personally, the Good News, at every moment asking us to say “Yes” to His decrees concerning us.

His Word is clearly written large and small, in the Bible, in the universe He created, and in the intangibles and indescribables of our personal being. As for Mary saying “Yes,” what He has in store for us will give us cause to say, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.”

Evangelismós. Announcing the Good News. Called since before the foundation of the world. Brethren, let us rejoice with the Theotokos, for “He that is mighty hath magnified me, and Holy is His Name,” will be the song of each one of us, if we only say “Yes”.

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