Sunday March 23rd. 2014                                                                                        Charity registration No. SC 002876

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St. Margaret's,                        St. Joseph's,                        St. Finnan's

The Annunciation, Tuesday, March 25th

Just as the snowdrops herald the coming of Spring and the end of winter, so the feast of the Annunciation in March heralds the end of the long wait for the coming of the Messiah, the Saviour of the world, and the beginning of our redemption.

When the Angel Gabriel appeared in Mary's presence, he could address her as full of grace for sin had never entered into the life of Mary. The Church teaches that from the first moment of her conception she was saved from inheriting the sin of Adam by the direct intervention of God. Already He was preparing a sacred dwelling place in Mary which had never been tainted by sin where his son could take on our human flesh. The saints tell us that it was the humility of Mary that made her so attractive to God.

The conversation between Mary and the angel Gabriel was so beautiful: Do not be afraid for you have found favour with God, You are to conceive a bear a son and you will call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of Most High.

Although Mary was already betrothed to Joseph, the marriage would not be complete until he took her to the marital home as his wife.

The angel then assured her: The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. Your kinswoman, Elizabeth in her old age has conceived a son, and this is the six month with her who was called barren, for with God nothing is impossible.   And Mary said: Behold, the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according your word.  

And the Angel left her.

The beauty of Mary’s faith was such that she did not question the Will of God, but humbly accepted it, not knowing what the future would be — and she would also have to explain to Joseph the circumstances of her pregnancy. When she told him, he was deeply concerned for her because of the  strict Jewish law that could have some one stoned to death for adultery. He also received a visit from the Angel Gabriel in a dream to assure him that what Mary told him was true and that the child she bore was indeed the Son of God. He then took her to the marital where they were truly husband and wife.

Pope Francis in his homily last year on the Solemnity of the Annunciation told us that Mary's humility and her total trust in God’s Holy Will  are the very essence of  a follower of Christ, - these two virtues,  he said, are the surest way to holiness.  Perhaps, we can reflect on these qualities of Mary during the weeks of Lent that remain and try to put them into practice in our own lives.

Next Sunday, fourth Sunday of Lent, is SCIAF Sunday

This is the  opportunity we have during Lent to make almsgiving part of our Lenten effort.  This year, as you know from several articles in the Bulletin, the gifts of the faithful from all the parishes and Catholic schools in Scotland are going to Colombia, South America, to the Choco region where SCIAF works, and where two-thirds of the people live in poverty. Many families of the Embera community eat only one meal a day, and often parents have to sacrifice their own meal to feed their children. Their land is plundered by greedy speculators,  and they are losing their only means of living.

Last year, the WEE BOX raised more than half a million pounds, and all this year’s  income will go to help the people of the Choco  region to help feed them, protect their way of life and also help them legally to claim their rights.

Peter Moran, Bishop Emeritus of Aberdeen, as president of SCIAF  asks us to give as generously as possible as a thanksgiving to God for his goodness to us.

The WEE BOX should only be handed in at the end of Lent.

It would be appreciated if you could convert the various coins into notes or pound coins to make it easier to count