ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
GIVING OUR YES TO GOD’S CALL
December 18, 2011
Today’s gospel: Luke 1:26-38
Today’s gospel reading is about the announcement to Mary by the angel of the birth of Jesus. This was about the coming of the Savior of the world. Through all of salvation history, from the prophecy about the Savior given in paradise at the time of the fall (Gen 3:15), this was now the defining moment. God’s specific plan was on the verge of being implemented. All that was needed now was the “yes” of a young maiden.
Mary did give her yes, and the rest is, as they say, history. God became man, and Jesus went on to win salvation through his death on the cross and his resurrection. But the work of salvation continued. It had to be proclaimed so that people could hear, believe and call upon the name of the Lord, thus be saved. So Jesus, before he ascended into heaven, started this process going, by sending his disciples. This work continues. Today we are among those sent.
Salvation is God’s work. In this work, God used Mary. In this work, God uses ordinary people such as us. God calls us to be evangelizers. And here is the challenge.
The angel Gabriel told Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” (Lk 1:30). God too extends His divine favor to us, by giving us the privilege to do His divine work. But if we truly realized what this means, then we could become afraid. Our question could be, “How can this be?” (Lk 1:34a).
* How can it be that sinful human beings can do divine work?
* How can we bring the light of Christ into a world of deep darkness, a world under the power of the evil one?
* How can we ever hope to overcome the enemy, with whom we are brought into direct confrontation when we evangelize?
* How can we overcome our inherent selfishness enough to give adequately of our time, talent and treasure for the cause?
* How can we become the effective witnesses that are truly empowered by the Holy Spirit?
* How can we reach the ends of the earth when we often cannot even reach our inner circles of family and friends?
* How can we actually do the work of a holy God?
Obviously, on our own we cannot. It would be totally impossible. But the good news is: “nothing will be impossible for God.” (Lk 1:37). If God calls, He provides. If God raises instruments, He equips. As the angel told Mary in answer to her question “how,” it will happen through the action and power of God’s Spirit (Lk 1:35a).
Our part is simply to give our yes. Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38a). We give our yes, and we need never fear, for God is with us and God empowers us.
Mary participated in a mighty way in God’s plan of salvation. We too are part of that plan. We too are given the privilege. We too can experience God’s great favor. Mary paved the way for the Lord’s first coming, as a child. We can help pave the way for the Lord’s second and final coming, as a King.
Let us do the work of evangelization and mission, and help prepare the world for Jesus, who “will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Lk 1:32b).
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