“When Henry Ford decided to produce his famous V-8 motor, he chose to build an engine with the entire eight cylinders cast in one block, and instructed his engineers to produce a design for the engine. The design was placed on paper, but the engineers agreed, to a man, that it was simply impossible to cast an eight-cylinder engine-block in one piece. Ford replied, ‘Produce it anyway.” ― Henry Ford: (1863 – 1947: was an American industrialist & the founder of the Ford Motor Company)
Gospel Text: (LK 1:26-38)
In the sixth month,
the angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“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.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.
How many of us have been blindsided by events we never expected – a twist on life’s path that we never saw coming, for better or for worse — and asked ourselves, in fury or despair or bewilderment:
How can this be?
And here Mary is told, simply:
“Nothing is impossible with God.”
And that is enough.
That is all she needs to hear. She will accept God’s will and she will carry it out.
It’s – in every sense – extraordinary. How is it that someone so young can so easily say “Yes” to what will undoubtedly be difficult, and painful, and maybe even scandalous? The very idea of it is a shock. It goes against our culture.
We live in an age when it’s so easy to say “No.” We can make life what we want it to be – even if that’s not what it should be.
You can fight aging with botox, avoid dieting with liposuction. You can make a baby in a Petri-dish. You can get a mortgage for an overpriced house with a three-car garage that you can’t afford. And, if it all becomes too stressful, society tells us that you can get rid of anything that’s just inconvenient – even an unborn child.
But Mary didn’t. Mary wouldn’t. She listened to another voice. The voice of an angel. When Mary asked the question the world asks so often of God – “How can this be? “— the answer ignited in her a fire. The fire of the Holy Spirit, the fire of possibility.
The answer is this: it can be because God wills it to be. Nothing is impossible with God.
How often we forget that. How often we disbelieve it, or mistrust it.
But the lesson of The Annunciation is so clear.
Mary, we’re told, was troubled at what she heard. But what follows is a message for all of us. In our moments of confusion, when we are troubled by what God brings to us…nothing is impossible.
The gospel asks us to look deeply at the unexpected, and the miraculous, and the mysterious. It asks us to consider possibility. And it asks us to look into our own hearts.
How do we respond to the Gabriel’s in our own lives?
How do we react when God suddenly knocks on our door to announce a change in plans?
When the doctor calls…
When the market fails…
When a child becomes ill…or a parent is bedridden…or the pregnancy results aren’t what you thought they’d be…or wanted them to be.
We may find ourselves brought up short by life. We may feel disappointment, confusion, maybe even anger. And we may ask those words that Mary asked so long ago, “How can this be?”
How will I get through it? How will I manage?
The answer is the same today as it was 2,000 years ago.
And that is what we cling to.
It is possible.
Because nothing is impossible with God.