Mary Said, Yes! And So Can You!
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
The Church gives us a wonderful gospel for this last Sunday of Advent. It is the gospel of the Annunciation when it is announced by the Archangel Gabriel to Mary that she will be the Mother of God. Mary was greatly troubled by this announcement and rightly so. This is the biggest plan of God for all time and this young girl is the main character.
Mary has the freedom to say yes or no; it is not a done deal. But she pauses and asks a question since she has not had relations with a man. The Archangel Gabriel explains to her that the Holy Spirit will overshadow her and will be the father of her child. This is so unbelievable that he has to follow it up with even more unbelievable news: that her cousin Elizabeth who is old and barren is six months pregnant for nothing is impossible for God. Some Christian writers have suggested that when Mary paused so did all of heaven with her. God’s plan rested on her free choice; so it does also with you and me.
Mary’s yes was bound to bring many difficulties. She would be pregnant but the child was not Joseph’s and this could have led to her death or other serious consequences. Mary’s response is very profound and simple. She says, “Let it be done to me according to your word.” Mary says, yes! She says, Amen! And you can say yes also to what God is asking of you.
God wants his Son to be born in you. He wants you to be a disciple of Christ. You and I say, how can this be? I am a mess, I am full of fear or full of anxiety, how can I be like Christ. The angel gives us the same answer that he gave to Mary: the Holy Spirit will do it; the child to be born in you is holy. It is not something of your efforts; it will be the work of the Spirit.
We have been saying that we are not angels but at times we can act like them. One thing we can do is to bring a message from God to those around us, wherever we go and whatever we do. It is up to them if they want to receive this message, just like Mary did with Gabriel. People need to hear a word of consolation and joy; they also need to be reminded to “fear not.” And they need to hear a word of hope and that there is someone who is helping them.
God sent his Word, his Son into the world not to condemn it but to save it and to save us from our manias, our stress and tension, our sorrows and bad choices. The first Christmas God sent the angel Gabriel to bring a message to Mary. This Christmas he sends you and me to do the same. Who is it in your life that needs a message of hope, an invitation that he has a plan for all of us, and maybe to join us for a Christmas Mass.