The Angel Gabriel said the first word that began our salvation: “HAIL!” “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” This HAIL is more than just a simple greeting. Gabriel’s HAIL meant GOOD NEWS! JOY! “This exclamation, we could say, marks the true beginning of the New Testament,” noted Pope Benedict XVI.
Gabriel went on to say, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High…. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the most high will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Mary answered Yes! “Let your word to me be fulfilled.”
At that moment, Mary became the new living temple where God dwelt. Mary’s baby grew according to all the stages of early human development in the womb and at the same time this tiny Child was, is, and always will be both human and divine—God in person.
When Joseph, who was espoused to Mary, saw that she was pregnant with a child who was not his own, he painfully and prayerfully planned to quietly divorce her. But while he was sleeping, an Angel came to him and said: “Don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife. That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” When Joseph woke up he discerned immediately that this dream was truly a message from God. From that moment on, he totally accepted Mary as his wife. He recognized the love that the Holy Spirit was pouring into him and responded with his whole strength, mind and soul. He committed the rest of his life to being a faithful, loving husband to Mary and a loving foster father to Jesus.
Because God so loved us all, because of Mary’s gift of her yes to God, and because of Joseph’s faithfulness, God took on human flesh and came to dwell among us.