Eucharistic Readings for the Annunciation: March 25
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you. But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.” (Luke 1:26 – 29)
This is one of my favorite verses as this is one of the two places in Luke’s Gospel where Mary “Ponders” about what is going on. But there is something else going on that I am noticing. Mary conceives of Jesus in Nazareth of Galilee. This Nazareth is a mystical place that has gone under the biblical radar for a long time.
Nazareth is not thought of in a positive light according to Nathanael in John’s Gospel. “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.” (John 1: 46) Nathanael’s remark makes Nazareth seem like the Sodom and Gomorrah of his day. There are some amazing features about this region of earth.
For one thing Lake Galilee is the lowest level fresh water lake on the planet. What does this mean to God as God looks down on this planet that God has given us as our fragile home? Galilee is so different from Judea in that Galilee has more frequent rains with crops and live stock. Judah is barren and arid. Jesus was conceived in Nazareth of Galilee and eventually was taken back there to be raised.
The picture I took while there last year (February 2018) is the one I use at the top of this blog and is of the Galilean coastline from a boat in Lake Galilee itself. I was amazed by this view of Jesus’ three year ministry. Jesus walked and preached and healed and taught within this view a little more than 2000 years ago. We need to look at the Holy Land with a new perspective, one of hope and surprise; God sure does. This is where Mary agreed to partner with God to change the world. She said “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” (Luke 2:38)
We can learn so much by just watching what God does, and where God chooses to do a work, and who God chooses to assist in the work, like Mary, and like you.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to God’s people and “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.” John Thomas Frazier Sr.