The Incarnation of the Son of God is the central mystery of the Christian faith, and in it Mary occupies a central place. But, we ask, what is the meaning of this mystery? And, what importance does it have for our concrete lives?
First of all, let us see what the Incarnation means. In the Gospel of Saint Luke we hear the words of the angel to Mary: "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" (Lk 1:35).
In Mary, the Son of God is made man, fulfilling in this way the prophecy of Isaiah: "Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel, which means 'God-with-us'" (Is 7:14).
Jesus, the Word made flesh, is truly God-with-us, who has come to live among us and to share our human condition. The Apostle Saint John expresses it in the following way: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (Jn 1:14).
The expression, "became flesh" points to our human reality in most concrete and tangible way. In Christ, God has truly come into the world, he has entered into our history, he has set his dwelling among us, thus fulfilling the deepest desire of human beings that the world may truly become a home worthy of humanity.
In contemplating the mystery of the Incarnation, we cannot fail to turn our eyes to Mary so as to be filled with wonder, gratitude and love at seeing how our God, coming into the world, wished to depend upon the free consent of one of his creatures. Only from the moment when the Virgin responded to the angel, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord let it be done to me according to your word" (Lk 1:38), did the eternal Word of the Father begin his human existence in time.
Today we praise the Most Holy Virgin for her faith, and with Saint Elizabeth we too say, "Blessed is she who believed" (Lk 1:45).
Extracts from Benedict XVI's homily, Plaza Antonio Maceo Square, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, 26 March 2012.