Dear friends, on this Feast of the Annunciation, I'd like to concentrate on Mary's “yes” and the nature of it. Firstly, I would like to just say that this “yes” is a movement from hope to certainty.

All couples hope to conceive, but none can guarantee that that might happen. In their own lovemaking the desire might be there that on this occasion, this might be the opportunity. It is a hope, but not a guarantee.

In Mary’s case, her saying yes is a movement from that sense of hope to a certainty. For Mary will conceive – not hope to – but will. And that is because of the promise of God, and that what God promises, comes about. So, from hope to certainty.

There is a second aspect to Mary’s “yes” that I think is worth attending to today, and that is the sense of both loss and gain in her yes.

You might not necessarily think of loss in terms of the Annunciation. But all that Mary had looked for as a couple with Joseph changes because of her yes. All that might have been experienced as the fruit of their love is put aside. So there is a loss for Mary in her yes.

But there is gain as well. For she gains a Gift beyond measure and an assurance beyond hope. For what Mary says yes to is a promise that generates this new hope that is ours in Christ Jesus.

While loss is a part of Mary’s yes, gain is a part of it for us. For the promise of this new hope – Jesus Christ – is ours.

So may we today recognise in Mary her actions that move from hope to certainty, her experiences of loss and gain and, for ourselves, the promise of a new life in Jesus Christ.

Feature image: The Annunciation (stained-glass window, mid-12th century), Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres