Marys’ yes: our example and inspiration
BY REV. FR. PAUL ARIOLE
According to Fr. Richie Mercado, humanity tends to understand time as being cyclical. He says; After the 59th second, it goes back to zero. After the 59th minute, it goes back to zero. After the 12th hour, it goes back to 1. After the season of winter is then spring, summer and autumn, then back to winter and the same progression over and over again. With this, we view time as cyclical where there’s no end to it because the cycle keeps on moving on. We exactly know that after Advent is Christmas. Then, we go back to Ordinary time. After a few weeks of Ordinary time, we go to Lent, and then Easter, and then back to Ordinary time again until the next Advent. Now, the danger with this understanding of time is that we already have an idea of what’s coming up.
The events in our lives become predictable. We can always say, “I’ll do this next Advent, not this time. I’ll give that up next Lent, not this time and the danger of the cyclical idea of time is that, sometimes we see time as being a routine, because sometimes every little thing that we do for our neighbours loses its meaning because it is done and understood within the context of time as cyclical. He further posited that Christians, understands time quite differently. That we Christians understand time not as cyclical but as linear, which means that we view time from the beginning all the way to the future that God has planned for us. And every step of the way is very important. It is very important because every step of the way is a moment of grace from God. And as we truly believe in our faith, during the first Christmas over 2000 years ago, God entered time (linear) from His eternity.
And since that very important step of the way, the world has changed. The world has changed because of God’s grace. The world has changed because God entered time. The world has changed because God became human like us, except sin. But before God entered into this linear time, somebody said YES. And this YES changed the world. This YES was a moment of God’s grace in the history of humankind. Mary, the mother of Jesus, said YES even though she did not understand everything that was going on when angel Gabriel appeared to her and announced God’s plan for her and the world. Her YES paved the way to a positive change in the world. Her YES brought Christ to all of us. By the pronouncement of her fiat, “Let it be done to be according to your word”. She declared herself ready to do whatever the Lord asked of her, whatever the risks.
What a tremendous act of faith. Somewhere in her mind, she must have been convinced that the Lord would take care of the situation and not allow her to come to any harm. As it turned out, her faith was not misplaced. Mary’s role in the history of salvation stands out clearly today. She receives the message with humility: “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it is done unto me according to your words.” With these humble words, she accepted her role in the history of salvation. Mary’s faith was a statement of her total self-donation to God’s own will for our salvation. Her response was a statement of her humility, generosity, courage, and love for humanity. Hence through here generosity, Mary reminds us that this is a season of joy, receiving and sharing. Today, as the angel brought the good news to Mary so also, we must continue spreading this message.
To the ends of the world. As we are now getting closer to celebrate the birth of our Savior, we are all invited to reflect deeper on this fourth Sunday of Advent as to how our YES brings a positive change into the world today. It is very interesting that we hear today King David wanting to build a temple, a place where he can bring God to others. However, God had other plans. King David knew what he wanted from God, but he also understood what God wanted from him. So often in our lives, these two fundamental questions in life bring to us a great challenge. We sometimes convince ourselves that what we want from God is what God wants from us. Even today, the Lord often does make difficult demands of his people. Such demands can come in shape of a serious illness, a failed marriage, childlessness, loss of a job, or even the death of a loved one.
At times like this, Mary’s example challenges us Christians to make an act of faith and pronounce our own fiat to God at all times irrespective of the situation we find ourselves, by saying “let will of God be done in our lives.” Like Mary, each of us is greeted by God, and called upon, to conceive Christ in our hearts by faith by obedience to the Word, to nurture with love and the Christ-life within us, and then bring Him forth into the world through the Christ-likeness of our way of life in what we say and in what we do. And as we wait for the next couple of hours for the manifestation of the new covenant and the fulfillment of God’s promise to his servant David, let us join the psalmist in proclaiming: “I will sing forever of your love, O lord. In all the ages, my mouth will proclaim your truth!” Let us pray today that, just as Mary’s ‘Yes’ opened the door for the salvation of the world, a new door to deeper faith and commitment may be opened for us; and at the same time pray for those in our world who sit in darkness and unbelief. May the Lord bless His Word in our heart through Christ Our Lord. Amen!
Peace be with you!