Today is the Solemn Feast of the Annunciation of Jesus Christ’s Nativity. It is actually a very ancient feast. For a couple of millennia, it has been associated with late Lent – and I read somewhere that in the ancient Syrian Church this feast occurred on the Thursday of Holy Week – in the morning. It marked the beginning of all the things Christians were about to celebrate. Rather mercifully in modern times, Holy Thursday is not also the day of this feast! In the first chapter of Luke we read about an angel, Gabriel, being sent to Mary of Nazareth. There is now a modern church in that town and in the crypt a little Chapel which commemorates the event. Don’t ask me how they know exactly where it happened – but it did happen in “this” place. On the tiny altar in that crypt chapel certain Latin words are engraved:
‘verbum caro hic factum est’
That could be freely translated: ‘Word enfleshed HERE it was’
The “Word” is God, according to St John. So, it’s that little word “hic” – that is not in St John. This little word ‘hic’ is like a thunder bolt and it could thrill us or shock us, or both. HERE. Not “once upon a time” but HERE. I want to mull that over, do you?