Mary’s yes to God truly changed the history of man says, Pope Francis. Humanity should always be grateful to Mary, says St. Louis Marie De Montfort. What would the story of man be if Mary did not say yes to God St. Anselm contemplates.
In my usual weekend shopping to take care of my needs for the coming week, I strolled inside a mega mall. The beauty of the mall makes it very comfortable for people to come and celebrate their loved ones, take pictures and buy some needs at a very low price.
As I was busy climbing the stairs, there was a great noise that almost caught the attention of every person in the mall, When many rushed to the scene to see what might really be the cause of this unusual scenario, the observers could not understand it when they saw a young man of about thirty years of age jumping and shouting “She said yes” “She said yes”. His joy overstepped the bounds that someone he has proposed said yes. It was like a new world, a turnaround, a change, a time of revival and indescribable moments of joy.
For generations, upon generations, humanity has been waiting for the coming Messiah. The coming of the Messiah in history has to take flesh through the womb of a woman. What would have happened if this woman said no to God’s will? Mary’s yes to God marked a turning point in our history of salvation. The joy that is going to radiate in these very few days began through her yes. Mary’s yes to God’s plan is a pointer to what awaits us when we also say yes to God’s plan for our lives.
David and the Dwelling place for God; Understanding the First Reading
1. David is seen as a man after God’s heart. After God has granted Him victory and rest over his enemies, David discovers that something is missing. He deems it very degrading to live in a palace made of cedar wood which was one of the expensive places made for kings at that time while the Ark of God dwells only in a tent. David considers that God should have the best and the most expensive place made for Him.
2. David’s intention was so good. Even the prophet Nathan gave Him a go-ahead order. But Nathan does not know that God has something greater in store for David. While David wants to make a building made of human hands, God wants a dwelling beyond human hands. While David wants to build for God a temporary dwelling, God promises David that He is going to establish Him forever. His Kingdom will have no end.
This then is a reminder of the angel’s message to Mary that the Lord God will give him the child to be born, the throne of his ancestor David. He is going to rule forever. The kingdom that He is going to establish is not just for ages but for eternity.
3. This Indicates that sometimes God may have something more great in store for us. Like Mary, we need to say yes to Him. Yes indicates acceptance, approval and willingness. God allowed Mary the freedom to choose or not to choose. She says yes and salvation came. God also allowed Adam and Eve to make their choices and they said no and humanity plunged into darkness. In turn, God gives us the freedom to say yes or no to Him. Hence our yes or no to God’s will determine the results that follow therein.
4. Secondly, we see in David, a man who wants to do more for God that he does for himself. He intends to give God a benefiting and worthy dwelling place better than it was before. The question then is ‘what type of dwelling place can we reserve for God? Are we preparing to give to God a dwelling place full of hatred, immorality, jealousy, wickedness, quarrelling, disunity and family disintegration? Or one with love, peace, forgiveness and unity? Is there any sincere hunger to give God a worthy place to dwell?
God’s intention is not only to dwell in a place of hands. He wants to come into your hearts. He needs our freedom to say yes or no. Can He dwell in our families? What is that thing that can limit God’s presence?
Mary’s Yes and Some Important Points to Consider
1.Mary’s encounter with the angel today is a glimpse of what happens when we truly accept and obey God’s will. The question that continues to disturb my attention is “what if Mary said No. There are glaring reasons that would have to make her say no to that. Points to consider here are: Mary would have had other intentions to achieve in life. She knows that accepting such a task would not have been easy and the best is to run away from it. Humanly speaking, how can one conceive through the power of the Holy Spirit? A logical Mary wouldn’t have accepted such a seeming fable.
But here Mary teaches us that once God is involved, there is no room for doubt. Secondly, God is above the logical. And finally, for the will of God to happen, we have to be willing to open ourselves to Him and say yes to Him even if we feel we cannot. Once God is involved, there is no position for no answer.
2. How would God have felt that His handmaid says yes to Him. Mary’s yes, created a banquet of joy in heaven and on earth. We see a glimpse of this joy in Luke 2:14 when the angel broke the news of the virgin birth. If truly we want to make God happy, our relationship and a close encounter with him determines a lot.
3. The beginning of Luke’s gospel gives us accounts of two separate visits from the angel Gabriel which has generated a little misunderstanding why the angel decides to punish Zechariah but explains to Mary.
To solve this, let us go back to the Greek original text. Zechariah says Κατὰ τί γνώσομαι τοῦτο (Kata ti gnōsomai touto). This means “by what will I know this? Many texts translate it like these; “by what signs will I know this? What will make me certain of this?” Here Zechariah, despite that He is a priest, was looking for a sign or something that will prove that what the angel is saying is true. In essence, Zechariah was looking for what will make Him believe. An indication that He doubted unless a sign proves otherwise.
But Mary says “Πῶς ἔσται τοῦτο (Pōs estai touto) meaning “how will it be” a statement of someone seeking for more explanation. In essence, Zechariah is looking for “what” to point at as a proof while Mary is seeking for the “how”, a process or way it will happen. Zechariah needs a sign or something that will make him believe but Mary is seeking for more understanding. Hence the Angel seems to become harsh on Zechariah because His eagerness to look for a sign seems to question the integrity of the messenger. This is why the angel takes time and explains himself before striking his Punishment. Hence Mary is like the apostles who in Luke 11 demand that Jesus show them how to pray.
The question of how demands explanation than a quest for a sign before one believes. Hence Mary has already believed but needed explanation. Hers is faith seeking understanding. Hence, Mary teaches us that to know God we have to seek for Him. Jeremiah 29:13 says if we seek Him with all our hearts, we must surely find Him.
1. The question we have to ask today is “How would God feel if He received no answer from Mary? In my story above, How will the boy who proposed to his fiancee feel if she said no? Of course sad, betrayed, worried etc. Right? As we celebrate Mary’s yes, a point we have also to consider is “how is God feeling over all the No’s we have said to Him? And How will He feel if we continue to say No to Him? The advent reminds us that this is a time to open our hearts and say yes to God.
2. This is the time to say yes to peace in your family. This is the time to say yes in confessing our sins to God. It is a moment to say yes to repentance. Mary’s yes to God is a No to the Devil and His schemes. So this is a time to say yes to God and say no to hatred, wickedness, envy, jealousy, kidnapping, immorality, pride, murder, deception, prayerlessness, excessive greediness, etc. Mary saying yes brings joy to the world. Who then knows what our yes has in store for us.
3. When the angel appears to Mary. The angel said three things to her: 1. She was highly favoured (2) that the Lord is with her and (3) that She was blessed. In essence, God has already done these for her. What God then needs is her willingness to comply. Then, Mary’s yes is in affirmation to the message of the angel.
In the same vein, God points to us that He does not hate us. He is always with us. Where the problem lies is our willingness to comply. In Luke 11:28, Jesus declares that hearing the word of God and keep to it is a source of blessing.
The problem is that humanity said no. Hence we abandon God to live the way we want. Like the angel visits Mary today through an unexpected visit, God can always talk to us through unexpected events, through his word, a friend, an inspiration etc. Our response to them determines a lot.
4. Finally, the annunciation teaches that despite however impossible our future may look like. Despite, however, we feel that our relationship with God is a burden, that it is only with God, and through His grace can the impossible become possible. The angel explains to Mary that She does not have to worry about how it will happen. What God needs is our acceptance to make it happen. How it will happen is determined by an Omnipotent power.
So remain blessed and stay inspired always. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. Happy Sunday and God bless you.
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