Mary is at the centre of this Sunday's gospel, Luke 1:26-38, which gives us a simple but moving account of the greatest message that was ever delivered. In it we are told simply and plainly that there was a young maiden, who knelt down at the angel Gabriel's mysterious message and in the freedom of her heart, gave the total gift of herself to God saying 'be it done unto me according to thy Word.' Mary was needed by God so that He might carry out this plan for the world and send His Son among us. She was asked to cooperate with God and be the mother of Christ. The moment she said yes to the angel, salvation began and she brought that salvation to birth at Bethlehem on the first Christmas day.