Daily Reflection
March 25th, 2000
Cathy Pedersen
Campus Ministry
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Annunciation of the Lord - Solemnity 
Isaiah 7:10-14
Psalms 40:7-11
Hebrews 10:4-10
Luke 1:26-38


And Mary said, “Yes,” to God’s messenger.  “May it be as you say.”

As a young girl, I was fascinated by this story of a young woman (not too aware that she might have been a young teenager) who said ‘yes’ to her God and became Jesus’ mother.  It never occurred to me that Mary would have replied in any other way.

However, in later years, I began to really look a little closer at the readings for this feast:  “…and Mary said to God’s messenger, ‘yes,’ May it be as you say.”

I began to realize that perhaps it wasn’t as simple as an instantaneous ‘yes.’  Mary actually engaged the angel in some extensive conversation about the visit.  Why was God’s messenger approaching her? What did the angel’s message really mean for her? (“…and Mary was troubled by these words and wondered what the angel’s greetings meant”).  How could she be with child?  (“I have never been with a man.”)  Who was going to be involved?  (“The Holy Spirit will come upon you.”) 

In hindsight it is easy to say,  ‘”Well, of course, God’s angel explained it to Mary and she was obedient to her God.”

Perhaps ‘yes’ and then again, perhaps ‘no’…

Mary was uncertain and confused by the angel’s appearance and greeting - “Rejoice highly favored one.  God is with you!”  She was still trying to grapple with the angel’s appearance and greeting and then had to deal with what was being said to her and asked of her - “Do not be afraid” …You have found favor with God…You will conceive and bear a son—his name shall be ‘god with us.’  Nothing will be impossible with God. 

NOW…when Mary finally answers ‘Yes,” she has been in conversation with her God…and is ready to say ‘Yes”…not as closure to this event, but rather to the beginning of its becoming real. 

Isn’t this what our ‘yes’es (and perhaps, sometimes our ’no’s) are?  Our responses to God in our lives are not closures, but rather beginnings into new realms and journeys.  We are called to be partners with our God, to discover, unravel, understand and help make God’s presence real in our world.  This certainly differs from viewing God’s will as a preordained pathway or maze to which we must say, ‘yes,’ but with which we have little to do other than simply following along the path.  God invited Mary into a dynamic relationship in which she would be changed and would change the lives of those around her - her fiancé, Joseph, her parents, her cousin, Elizabeth, all the people who would encounter her, her family and her son in the time to come.

‘Yes’ is not a simple assent.  Rather, it is the beginning of a journey to respond (and continue to respond)….to say ‘yes’ with a commitment to what is yet to come and actively participate in it…as Mary did.

On this day in Jubilee Year, 2000, we are invited by the Catholic Church to celebrate women in church and society throughout the world.  We are called to raise up women who have said ‘yes’ and are continuing to say ‘yes.’

What a wonder-filled opportunity to bless the women in our lives!  Today, let us join with women and men in every diocese throughout the world as we pray the Beatitudes of Women:

Blessed is she who suffers with the very young, the very old, and the very lonely for she has compassion.

Blessed is she, who greets the world with joy, laughter, and anticipation, for she has courage.

Blessed is she who speaks gently, lives humbly, and chooses to give freely, for she has dignity.

Blessed is she, who listens and hears and extends her hands as a friend, for she has understanding.

Blessed is she who gives simply, loves deeply, and walks joyfully in life, for she has sincerity.

Blessed is she, who lives intensely and sings life’s alleluias, for she has awareness.

Blessed is she who has compassion and courage, freedom and dignity, understanding, sincerity, and awareness, for she is a woman, a gift, a blessing.

Blessed is she who SAYS Yes to God, who IS bread for others by her many acts of love which feed and nuture those for whom she cares.

(Adapted from Newark Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women)

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