VATICAN CITY, MAR. 25, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II´s address before the noon Angelus.
1. Today, March 25, is the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord. However, as it coincides with the Fourth Sunday in Lent, this feast, which is very rooted in the tradition of the People of God, is postponed until tomorrow.
Nevertheless, we can appreciate a significant relation between today´s liturgy of “Laetare Sunday,” permeated by mercy and joy, and the solemnity of the Annunciation. Indeed, while today, we have a foretaste of the light and joy of the paschal mystery, the solemnity of the Annunciation refers us to the source of the spiritual joy, which is the Incarnation of the Son of God.
It takes me back in thought to the intense moments of the celebration that last year, precisely on this day, I was able to preside over in the Basilica of the Annunciation at Nazareth. I knelt down with profound emotion in the humble grotto in which Mary heard the words of the Angel and pronounced her “fiat,” opening herself fully to God´s will.
2. We wish to thank God in a special way today, for the gift of salvation, which Christ brought to the world with his Incarnation: “Et Verbum caro factum est — and the Word became flesh.” From the contemplation of this mystery all believers can draw renewed spiritual energy to ceaselessly proclaim and witness to Christ, our only salvation, and to faithfully serve the “Gospel of life” that he entrusts to us.
In face of the culture of death and of the attacks that, unfortunately, go on multiplying against man´s life, let the effort to defend it in all its phases, from the first moment of conception to its natural end, not diminish. May humanity come to know a renewed spring of life in respect and acceptance of every human being, on whose face shines the image of Christ!
We pray for this together with her who is the “living word of consolation for the Church in her struggle against death” (“Evangelium Vitae,” 105).
[Translation by ZENIT]