Thursday, March 25, 2010

Saying "yes" to God's will (Feast of the Annunciation, Luke 1:26-38)

The feast of the Annunciation calls to mind the great and wonderful deeds God has done for Mary whom he chose to be the mother of his only Son. It also recalls the “yes” Mary gave to God’s invitation. It is a “yes” that will find a perfect echo in her son’s acceptance of the Father’s will for him at the garden of Gethsemani, when faced with the tremendous and awful prospect of suffering and death, Jesus will affirm his obedience to the Father’s plan of salvation. Mother and Son are bound together by this “yes” to God’s will.

But it is a yes that surely didn’t come without difficulty for both. We must not imagine it being almost like an automatic thing for both Mary and Jesus to simply give their wholehearted assent to what God wanted them to do. Mary was herself puzzled by the angels words in the gospel reading today. “How can this be?” she asked. Not doubt perhaps, but perplexity was what she felt. It was after all, something so unusual. And at the garden, when Jesus finally came face to face with the prospect of suffering and death, while he did accept the Father’s design for him, he too found the situation difficult and perplexing. “If it is possible to take this cup away from me…” he said. And yet in the end, for both of them, it was the will of God that held sway.

In our lives too, there are moments when we find ourselves faced with very tough decisions whether to follow our own desires, or obey what we know to be God’s will. Jesus and Mary are inspirations for us in this regard. For in both of them we find a perfect submission to God’s will, despite perplexity and perhaps even fear.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is a condition of the heart." (Friedrich Nietzsche)