PAPAL DESIRE TO VISIT HOLY LAND

March 25 (EWTNews) The desire of the Holy Father to make a special Jubilee pilgrimage to the Holy Land was "closely linked to the Incarnation of the Word of God, the event which the Holy Year of 2000 directly recalls." The Solemnity of the Annunciation, which falls on March 25 this year, was the reason for choosing the dates of the Holy Father’s pilgrimage to Nazareth, the holy place of the Incarnation of the Word. As Pope John Paul II said, "I very much want to visit Nazareth, the town linked to the actual moment of the Incarnation and the place where Jesus grew ‘in wisdom, age and grace before God and men’ (Lk 2:52). Here Mary heard the Angel's greeting: ‘Hail, O full of grace, the Lord is with you!’ (Lk 1:28). Here Mary spoke her fiat to the message that called her to be mother of the Saviour and, overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, to become the womb that would welcome the Son of God."

The liturgy of The Solemnity of the Annunciation celebrates the memorial of what took place in the house of Nazareth. Where Mary, who was "full of grace" and "the handmaid of the Lord", said "yes" to God’s plan of salvation (Lk 1:26-28). Her "fiat" enabled Emmanuel to take on our flesh (Is 7:10-14), that He too might do the will of the Father, offering His own life in sacrifice (Heb 10:4-10)."