Right smack in the middle of Lent is the feast day of the Annunciation, a jarring anachronism in regards to the narrative of Jesus’ life playing out through the Lent/Holy Week/Easter cycle. As I mentioned earlier this week in the “Mini-Corner,” the Annunciation celebrates the visit of Gabriel to Mary to tell her that she is to bear the Messiah (Luke 1:26-38). The placement of the holiday (March 25) is simple: it is nine months before Christmas.
But I feel like there’s something to be gained by that juxtaposition. If you have ever seen a movie like Ocean’s Eleven or other “caper” kinds of movies of television programs, there’s often a cinematic technique where, in the midst of a crisis, there’s a flashback that reveals that the main character has in anticipation of this made some sort of plan that gets revealed in the moment and saves the day.
In the midst of Lent, as we are not only witnessing Jesus heading inexorably towards the cross but also wondering where we ourselves might be heading, we are treated to a little flashback, a story from decades (or centuries) before, in which we are told Jesus is the son of God, who “will reign of Jacob’s house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.” (Lk 1:33)
When things look bleak, just remember that there has always been a plan. God has laid out the path to God’s kingdom from the beginning. Moreover, there is always something going on behind the scenes when it comes to God, so part of the story that we may not see in the moment, but will eventually be revealed. Lent is not the end of the story. What we are going through now is not the end of the story. There is more, more going on, more to look forward to, more to discover.
Yours in Christ,