Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Definitive decisions: They are really the only ones that allow us to grow, to move ahead

“It was to a virgin woman that the birth of the Son of God was announced. It was to a fallen woman (Mary Magdalene) that His Resurrection was announced.” ― Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Life of Christ

Gospel Text: (LK 1:26-38)
The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“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.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

Today, we celebrate the feast of the Annunciation of our Lord. With the angel Gabriel's announcement and Mary's acceptance of the explicit divine will of incarnating in her womb, God assumes the human condition and nature —«in everything equal to us, except for sin»— to exalt and elevate us as his sons and have us, thus, as partakers of his divine nature.

Today's celebration, then, stands at the center of the drama of salvation: Without today, no cross and resurrection; without today, no Church or sacraments; without today, no eternal life on high with God.

Mary is, to be sure, our model for acceptance and invitation to faithfully respond to the word of God in our lives. Mary’s discerning response to Gabriel’s announcement models for us our acceptance of God’s invitations in our own unique circumstances.

Am I ready? Am I fit for the task? Do I deserve to be in this position? How will it all work out? These and many similar questions, all of which focus on me, pale in comparison to the recognition and the response to the One who calls me. I need, like Mary, to focus not on myself, but on the Lord who calls. And that makes all the difference in the world. As with Mary, my call is to recognize that God is with me and to trust in that despite what I see as my failings or any hesitations I may have.

Ultimately, the carrying out of an invitation like the Annunciation to Mary depends only on the YES she said in response to Gabriel: I am the handmaid of the lord. May it be done to me according to your word. The rest is up to God; and that’s clearly the most important point of the Annunciation account, and any call/announcement that reaches our ears/hearts.

Always remember: Nothing is “impossible for God” (Luke 1:37)!!!! Our Father can do whatever he wants, whenever and wherever he wants. But for some reason, he prefers to do his work in and through us. So as we celebrate this great day when Mary submitted to God’s will, let’s make the same decision. Let’s make sure we are open to the possibility that God may want to change some of our plans. Let’s all say, “I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.”

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