The Word Became Flesh

The Annunciation


Greetings from the Holy Land!

 Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth

On the first full day of our pilgrimage, we visited and prayed at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. On the altar in the grotto, inside the church, can be found an inscription Verbum caro hic factum est: the Word became flesh here.

I can’t think of a better way to begin our first full day of a pilgrimage than to pray in a place where tradition holds to be the place where the Blessed Virgin Mary received the annunciation from the Angel Gabriel and thus conceived Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in her womb. Many houses at that time were built around an existing cave and there is archaeological evidence that this particular cave had been part of a house and had also been venerated since early Christianity.

(Picture:Altar of the Annunciation in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth)

One of the main characteristics of Franciscan theology is its emphasis on the Incarnation (in-carne = taking flesh) of the Second Person of the Trinity. Christ did not cling to his equality with God but rather emptied himself and became one of us. This should make a profound difference from worshipping a God who’s always far away in a kind of a different dimension.

We worship a God who knows our suffering because he too has experienced human suffering. We follow the example of a God who humbled himself and came to serve, not to be served. We believe in a God who loved us and the world so much, that he became one of us and dwelled in that same world.

Our body, then, is not something to be thought of as a cause of evil so we only need to care about spiritual things. Similarly, creation is not something that should be abandoned to rot because we only care about heaven. What would seem to be profane and un-Godly, has been made sacred because of Christ’s Incarnation.

So next time you hear someone say, “Ah, I’m only human,” tell them: “Thanks be to God!”

Peace and good.

Fr. Sam Nasada, OFM
Associate Pastor, Mission San Luis Rey Parish

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