With Christmas just a day away, Pope Francis said Mary’s humble and modest response at the announcement of Jesus’ birth reflects what our own attitude should be regarding God’s plan for our lives as we prepare for the incarnation.
In her response to the angel during the Annunciation, Mary’s attitude “perfectly corresponds to that of the Son of God when he comes into the world: he wants to become the Servant of the Lord, putting himself at the service of humanity in order to fulfill the plan of God,” the Pope said Dec. 24.
By saying “I am the handmaid of the Lord,” Mary “perfectly reflects” the words of Jesus himself, who in the Gospels tells God the Father that “I come to do your will.”
“In this way Mary is revealed as a perfect collaborator in the plan of God, and she is also revealed as a disciple of her son, and in the Magnificat she is able to proclaim that ‘God has exalted the lowly,’ because with this humble and generous response she has obtained a high joy, and even the highest glory.”
Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square during his Angelus address for the fourth Sunday of Advent, which this year falls on Christmas Eve. Later this evening, at 9:30p.m. local time in Rome, he will celebrate the vigil Mass for Christmas in St. Peter’s Basilica.
In his Angelus address, the Pope pointed to the difference between the responses of the angel and Mary during the Annunciation in the Gospel of Luke.
The angel’s declaration that Mary will conceive a son, that his name will be Jesus, that he will be the Messiah, and that he will have a specific mission in line with his ancestors David and Jacob, is “a long revelation, which opens unheard of perspectives,” he said, adding that after Mary’s question, the angel goes into further detail, and the revelation becomes “still more detailed and surprising.”
Mary’s response, on the other hand, “is a brief phrase, which doesn’t speak of joy, it doesn’t speak of privilege, but only of availability and service.”