4th Sunday of Advent 2020
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: December 20, 2020
It is like we have been given a view into the heart of Mary as she struggles with one of the biggest decisions of her life. This is a very intimate, very personal moment in the life of Mary. A young woman making a crucial decision that would lead to a complete change in her life. Not surprisingly she is full of uncertainty and doubts and fear. But, she says Yes. Sometimes we refer to it as Mary’s Fiat, her Yes to this call from God through the Angel Gabriel. Mary was completely free, she was not forced. Her Yes in this moment was freely given and it made a difference. The result was Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us.
We are also left free by God. And the decisions we make each day, in each moment, make a difference. The decisions that human beings make each day matter.
Human decisions are the difference between war and peace, well being and poverty. Our own Yes, like the Yes of Mary, allows God to be born in our lives and in our world. Even the smallest and most ordinary decisions make a difference.
Here are some small examples of how our daily decisions make a difference:
You get up in the morning. You know you should take some time for prayer. But, I am free to say yes or no. When we say yes and take that time for prayer, it makes a difference, changes the way we live. That yes to time of prayer in the morning opens our hearts to the spirit of God in our life throughout that day.
On Sunday morning, we get up and decide whether to come to church for Mass. We are free to say yes, as individuals and as families. By saying yes, coming to church, it makes a difference to how we see God present in the rest of the week. Many at this time are not free to come to church due to the pandemic, then the Yes is to be united to the church in prayer at home. This yes gives us greater opportunity to have our eyes opened to the presence of God in our daily lives.
A married couple on their marriage day say Yes to each other, to commit to each other for life. That yes matters, but it is a yes that needs to be said again and again throughout the marriage. And it requires two spouses saying yes. In good times and in bad. This yes keeps God in your marriage.
Forgiveness is really a yes as well. We are free in the decision to forgive, it cannot be forced. When we say yes to forgiveness, it sets another person free and ultimately sets us free.
If you have a friend who is grieving. The decision to visit or to call or to write a card, this also is one we are free to make. Our yes to reach out to that friend makes a difference, it is what allows God’s presence to come bringing healing and peace.
You can each come up with many examples of decisions you need to make, the Yes you need to offer that allows the presence of God to enter our world. Some very ordinary decisions and some much larger decisions.
The prayer, the Hail Mary, begins with the greeting of the Angel Gabriel. Each time we offer this prayer it is like we are entering into that intimate moment of decision in the life of Mary. Her free Yes that allowed God to be present. It is a reminder that our daily decisions, big and small, make a difference. Our Yes to something good, true, just, is what allows God’s presence to be among us today.
Our Yes, in our decisions, is united to the great Yes of Mary in allowing God to be present in our lives and in our world.