You Were Baptized for this Time
We have heard the annunciation many times and we know the story. However, maybe it is time to look at it differently.
First notice that just as Mary is the reverse of Eve, Mary’s annunciation is the reverse of Eve’s fall to temptation. In both cases an angel comes and in Eve’s case entices her to disobedience, but in Mary’s case invites her to obedience. Through Eve comes Adam’s fall and our own. Through Mary comes Jesus who brings salvation.
However, there is another part we need to see. Mary was conceived without sin. So, God chose her before her conception to be the Mother of Jesus and reverse the fall caused first by Eve.
Catholic teaching is that this happens many times.
John the Baptist is called before his conception. Jeremiah is called before his, do we see a pattern here.
Mary’s yes is a key point of salvation history. Her saying yes brought forth Jesus who brings our salvation.
She was chosen for this time.
Now let us expand this idea. We see the Jews were chosen to be the instruments of God’s salvation and to bring forth Jesus through Mary. We see the Apostles were chosen to bring forth Jesus’ message to the world guided by the Holy Spirit.
Now I want you to reflect on something.
We are living through unique times, without question.
It is a time of confusion, anger, frustration, anxiety, trepidation.
You were called at your baptism for this time.
We can bring up the idea of saying: “Who am I?” of each one of ourselves. However, that question is answered with the statement you are baptized Catholics called by God to live his gospel. How do I know that? It is part of the rite of Baptism.
So now I want you to reflect especially as we approach Christmas were you called for this time specifically. All teaching in the church indicates yes.
Remember the words of St. John Chrysostom who said that we have a bigger job than the prophets. He said the prophets even the most powerful like Elijah were only called to preach to their own people. You can I have a call to preach to the whole world. Now we can say following Church teaching that we were called to preach to the whole world here at the dawn of the second decade of the second millennium.
How do we do this? One simple way. Do you see how much division there is in our country and in the world? Do you see emotions that are happening? Many people focusing on everything from the pandemic to the current political climate will be focused on the surrounding darkness.
You and I have a calling to be focused on the light.
On the radio, I have been calling people to take this rather unique time as a special gift to stop and listen to what the Lord may be saying to us. This is a powerful time for us to focus on the light and allow the Lord to form us more deeply in our faith.
I often consider something the Canadian sailors told us how they steer their ships. On US ships the helm is on the bridge so the helmsman can see out just like everyone else on the bridge. The Canadian sailors told me that on their ship the helm is one deck below. They cannot see out and can only follow the instructions of the officer of the deck.
I don’t know how true that is, I have never been on a Canadian ship and only went Canada once in my life. That image, however, is a powerful one for us.
We don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow and that truth is part of every day of our lives.
We have to just trust in the Lord for tomorrow. In fact, Jesus commands us to do that. Do not worry about tomorrow.
Our focus has to be on the light we experience today as we approach Christmas so that the Lord can form us to be his people during this rather unique time. More than any time in our lives we have no idea what tomorrow will bring. What next month will bring and even what our live will be like in six months.
Let this be a time to allow the Lord to lead us by our focus on Him. Let Him transform us.
Today, we recognize that Mary put full trust in the Lord—a hard thing for us to do. We, however, must do the same—put full trust in the Lord completely. That is learning process but the more we do this, the more we are formed by him to be what he called us to be at birth.
Mary had a special call to be the Mother of the Savior. Jeremiah was called before he was conceived to be the prophet to the people. John the Baptist was called before his conception to be one proclaiming the coming of the Lord.
What were you called to be at your baptism? This is a great opportunity for us to submit ourselves to the Lord let go of the distractions around us and submit ourselves to be formed by the Lord.
Now is not the time to fight the restrictions by the governor. That is not our role. Now is the time to join Mary in saying those powerful but scary words: "Let it be done to me according to your word."
By Hans Memling - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39887531