Ever thought what you would do if a fearsome angel suddenly showed up in your house? What if that angel asked you to do something completely unlikely? Sunday’s Gospel always intrigues me (Luke 1:26-38): “Do not be afraid,” the angel said to Mary. This week in our discsussion forums:
C’mon, what do you mean, don’t be afraid? Of course Mary must have been afraid. And do you ever wonder if she struggled inside herself before answering, “Let it be with me according to your word”?
Many preachers and writers hold Mary up as a model of passivity. I don’t see her that way at all. I see her “yes” as an active—and brave—response to the God who created her and who loved her dearly. This was one gutsy move. At her young age, could she really have known the implications her answer to the angel’s question would have for her life? For her relationship with Joseph? For the child-raising that lay ahead? Just imagine. But she answered “yes.”
“You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus,” the angel told Mary, adding that this child would be given the throne of his ancestor David. This information established the child within a particular lineage. What was promised was now coming to pass. Mary was called to be the Christ-bearer.
We, too, are called to be Christ-bearers. We have been called by name and are loved by God (Isaiah 43). Can we answer the call, whatever shape that might take in our lives and our vocations, with a gutsy “yes” like Mary did? And can we remember that struggling with a response before answering “yes” is quite appropriate? In fact, it’s quite a sane response.
The God who calls us has claimed us. “I have called you by name, you are mine. ... You are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.” With that claim and that promise before us, we can do the impossible—for, as the angel told Mary, “Nothing will be impossible with God.”
As heirs of this God whose beloved we are and this Jesus whom Mary was called to mother, we all can carry out our mission: Marked with the cross of Christ forever, we are claimed, gathered and sent for the sake of the world.
(Solomonson also writes about being claimed by God in January's editorial, "‘I have called you by name’".)
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