Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saying "Yes!" to God

“Let it be done unto me according to your Word.” 

This is Mary’s unequivocal “Yes” to God.  God chose Mary to be the Mother of Jesus, the Son of God.  God chose her to be the one who brings salvation into the world.  By Mary’s “Yes,” to God’s task for her - in his love for his people - we are all brought to a Life Eternal in heaven.

I’m sure we have all experienced being chosen.  As a child, I remember standing anxiously among my classmates waiting to be chosen to be on a team:
·         Or waiting to hear the outcome of a job interview, to see if I was chosen among the candidates,
·         Or again, waiting for a director to choose me for a part in a play after audition. 

All these are anxious moments - waiting to be chosen from among others – based on our abilities, - our qualifications – our talents - with our biggest and brightest smile.  If you’ve ever watched the Broadway show or movie “The Chorus Line” you see the anxiety of those waiting to be chosen.

But this kind of choosing is different from how Mary was chosen.  Mary was not chosen because she was the best, the brightest or the most hard-working – Mary was chosen because “Mary had found favor with God.”

Nothing that Mary did made her deserving of God’s gift of grace in choosing her to be the Mother of Jesus.  Remember, God chooses the weak things of this world to do his will.

Mary was not in a contest for God’s favor – in scripture we read that Mary was going about her normal everyday activities when she was approached by God’s messenger, Gabriel. It was quite a shock and very worrisome for Mary to be greeted – “Hail Mary, full of grace.  The Lord is with you.”
·         Kind of a “You talking to me?” moment for Mary

God’s grace is freely given.  Mary did not earn grace, or did she deserve God’s favor or was she entitled to God’s gifts.  God’s gifts and favors are given from his love and generosity.  He bestowed them on Mary as one of his beloved children.  His giving made her worthy and filled her with his grace.

Mary’s song response to God’s generosity:

“My soul does magnify the Lord
My spirit rejoices in God, my savior
For he has looked with favor upon his lowly servant”

Remarks on how undeserving she is of God’s grace and on how his love is reflected in her.  She knows it is God who does all these wonderful things for her and not anything she has done to deserve them.

“From his day forward
All generations will call me blessed
For the Almighty has done great things for me.”

Today, we all recognize the favor and grace God bestowed on Mary and call her blessed among women.  She is the one who sits in heaven, closest to us between Jesus and the world.  She is our heavenly Mother, God bearer – chosen with favor and grace – to bring God into the world - as one of us – to bring us back to God: to show us how to be truly human.

We too are chosen people, beloved children of God.  He chooses each one of us, like he chose Mary, not because we do anything to deserve to be chosen, not because we are the best, the brightest or the most deserving, but because God loves us.

He chooses each of us to be a part of his plan of salvation; each of us given a unique role to bringing all the scattered sheep of the flock back into his heavenly kingdom.  He bestows his grace and favor on us, so we might be called holy and blessed children of God.

But do we respond to God’s love as Mary did?  Do we give our immediate and unequivocal, “Yes” to God when he calls us?  Do we sing God’s praise for the favor and grace he freely gives?
·         Or do we hesitate?  Do we doubt?  Do we think he is calling someone else?

God’s grace abounds – it is everywhere – waiting for us to respond to his call. 
·         It is in cries of the poor. 
·         It is in responding to the needs of the least of God’s children. 
·         It is only in the listening in our hearts to the quiet of God’s voice - calling us to love as he loves; - to care as he cares – to follow in his way - toward the promised kingdom of heaven.

·         Be like Samuel - when God calls, saying, “Yes, Lord! Your servant is listening!”
·         Be like Mary – when God calls: Rejoice in God’s favor, saying, “Let it be done unto me according to your word.

Peace and Merry Christmas,
Deacon Don

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