4th Week of Advent: Origin Stories and Familiar Songs

When I went to Mass today, the priest’s homily talked about the origin stories of superheroes in relation to today’s Gospel. He noted that no matter how often superhero movies come out, they always start out by telling the origin story of the hero even though most people in the audience already know it. He said that “In order to understand the hero we see, we have to know where he comes from.”

This statement applies to today’s gospel because it’s a story Catholics know all too well: The Annunciation. It’s read a lot of times, mostly during a Marian feast day. And if any of you went to Catholic School, you may have prayed The Angelus. The Angelus is the Annunication in prayer form.

As a kid, I hated praying the Angelus because it was prayed right before lunch, when my stomach was growling and my patience was about the size of a mustard seed. It felt like it went on forever, when in reality it was only a few minutes. But nowadays, I have grown an appreciation for it because I know the context of the prayer.

In a way, I compare this experience to The Sound of Music, one of my favorite musicals. Many people grew up with the songs without knowing where the songs came from and some people probably hate these songs for being so overplayed in childhood. However, I was introduced to The Sound of Music at a young age. I used to have the movie on video and would watch it every now and then. By knowing the context of the songs, I was able to appreciate them more.

In a way The Angelus prayer is like The Sound of Music. For me, I had to understand the context of the prayer in order to understand the prayer itself.

My favorite song from that musical was “Edelweiss,” one of the quieter songs amongst a long list of showstopping catchy numbers. One part of The Angelus that stands out is “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us.” It’s the only part of the prayer that takes its verse from the Gospel of John instead of the Gospel of Luke. And it shows us Jesus’s origin story. Through Mary’s “Yes,” He was conceived. And she, and every generation since, has been blessed by Him forever.

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