On the doors of the Tabernacle at St Mary’s is a beautiful painting portraying the Annunciation. It shows the moment when Gabriel greets Mary who responds to God by saying ‘Yes’ to his plans for her and the world. It’s the moment of Incarnation, when God takes flesh.
Mary was the first to receive Jesus, and the painting of that scene from the gospels is beautifully placed there on the Tabernacle doors, beyond which is enshrined the Sacramental Body of Christ which we receive in the Eucharist.
St Teresa of Calcutta who ministered to the poorest of the world’s poor in Calcutta, reflected on this when she wrote about the Annunciation and Mary’s journey to the hill country of Judah, to the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth, pregnant with John who would become the Baptist.
“Like Mary, let us be full of zeal to go in haste to give Jesus to others. She was full of grace when, at the Annunciation, she received Jesus. Like her, we too become full of grace every time we receive Holy Communion. It is the same Jesus whom she received and whom we receive at Mass.”
“As soon as she received him she went with haste to give him to John. For us also, as soon as we receive Jesus in Holy Communion, let us go in haste to give him to our Sisters, to our poor, to the sick, to the dying, to the lepers, to the unwanted and the unloved. By this we make Jesus present Jesus present in the world today.”
“Like Mary, let us be full of zeal to go in haste to give Jesus to others. She was full of grace when, at the Annunciation, she received Jesus. Like her, we too become full of grace every time we receive Holy Communion.”St Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Whilst Mary’s vocation was unique and unrepeatable, we are called to be like her, to open our lives to God’s Spirit, to bear Christ in our lives so that we may make him present in the world today.
In the Eucharist, we become a Tabernacle for the Lord, a holy dwelling place, a doorway to Heaven.