A strong motif in the Bible is a woman unable to conceive, the appearance of an angel and the promise of a child. Mary, the mother of Jesus, stood in this line and she knew how to respond with faith and courage. She models a response that we are all called to make. Not that we will all be the mother of the Messiah but the purpose of God is long and wide, with a place in it for each one of us. We too are called to hear God’s promise, to receive God’s gift, to take our place in the fulfillment of God’s purposes in the world.