SAINT GEORGE ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH
كنيسة القديس جاورجيوس الأنطاكية الأرثوذكسية المسيحية
Father Joseph Rahal
March 25, 2009 + God's Free Gift
IN THE MIDST OF OUR Lenten journey, in this time of contrition and repentance, a proclamation of great hope and expectation is heard throughout the Church. Even as our struggles in Lent confront our sin and our powerlessness to overcome it, God sends a messenger to assure us that because of His love and mercy, salvation has been bestowed upon us if only in faith we will receive it.
And so, on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, the Church celebrates this message of salvation delivered to the Virgin Mary by the angel Gabriel. What is this message of salvation? The angel Gabriel tells her: "And behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give 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" (Luke 1:31-33). Gabriel explains to Mary the amazing plan of salvation, that the child within her will be born of her and the Holy Spirit and this child Himself will be God.
In the visitation of Gabriel to Mary and her acceptance of his message, we can see God's plan for salvation for all of us. God, in His love for us, is the initiator of our salvation. He offers us eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. It is a free gift; we need only to accept it.
Mary freely accepted God's love. Her response to the annunciation was, "Let it be to me according to your word." As we continue our journey to Pascha, let us celebrate the free gift of God's love — a love that tramples down sin, death and the devil. A love that conquers all. A love that makes us sons of God and heirs of His kingdom.
Let us, like Mary, humbly accept this gift of love and, in so doing, like her, allow God to dwell within us.
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