On March 25, churches that follow the Gregorian Calendar mark one of the greatest feasts in the liturgical year, the Annunciation of the Mother of God.
The feast is based on the “good news” Archangel Gabriel delivered to the Virgin Mary (therefore, it is called Annunciation) that she would give birth to the divine baby, the Savior of mankind.
After Mary was betrothed to Joseph, Archangel Gabriel “came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women” (Luke 1:28); “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
And Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:31-38).
In Nazareth, there is a church built at the place where Archangel Gabriel spoke to Virgin Mary to remember the annunciation.
The celebration of annunciation was established by the church in the fourth century, after it began to celebrate Christmas independently. The date was defined by counting 9 months before Christmas.
“Salvation cannot be bought or sold: it’s a gift. It’s given to us, it’s free. We can’t be saved through ourselves: Salvation is a totally free gift. It’s not bought through the blood of bulls or goats: it can’t be bought. But in order to receive this salvation, we need a humble heart, a meek heart, an obedient heart. Like that of Mary. And the model for this road towards salvation is the same God, his Son, who didn’t consider being equal to God an advantage which cannot be abandoned. Paul said this.”, said pope Francis at today’s mass in Santa Marta residence.