Reading 1, Isaiah 7:10-14
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 40:7-8, 8-9, 10, 11
Reading 2, Hebrews 10:4-10
Gospel, Luke 1:26-38
As I read the readings for today and reflected on the Annunciation, I was reminded of a talk I once listened to by Scott Hahn. In the talk Dr. Hahn is talking about a time when he found himself overwhelmed with the amount of duties he felt that God had set before him. After a lengthy struggle, he explains how he came to an important realization:
Dr. Hahn: “But Lord you’re asking so much of me.”
God: “Your problem is that you’re asking so little from Me! Because if you asked more from Me you would realize I’m not asking anything from you except that you open yourself up to Me!
Reflecting on this, Dr. Hahn then states to the audience: “What a difference it makes to discover that we please God most not as employees, but as children.”
I have always loved that last line, and it goes so well with today’s readings. Often, when we hear the message of Mary’s great “yes” to God’s incredible plan for her, we are drawn towards how openly she served the Lord. The Psalm for today “Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will” reenforces this idea that, at our best, we are serving God as almost the great corporate boss of our lives. If we are lucky, we may know Him as a benevolent boss; the kindest, most loving boss one could possibly have. However, we still fall into this temptation to see our lives as simply clocking in hours: trying to put in as many good ones as we can, for the benefit of this greater organization of the Church.
The problem with this is that, unlike at at the 9-5 jobs, this one doesn’t let us clock-out. The work is never finished, and it follows us everywhere we go. What’s more: we can fail at our jobs, and disappoint our bosses at times, and that leads us to believe we are going to do the same for God. It’s exhausting to live this way, trying to improve our resume’s before God.
That is why this realization by Dr. Hahn is so important for the rest of us to grasp as well. As God’s children, He does not expect perfection from us. He simply asks that we listen to Him, as any child listens to their Father. He asks us to do what he asks because He knows what is good for us. Mary’s yes was most significant as the perfect example of a person humbly submitting to the will of her Father. His will is her delight, and ours as well.
May it be done to all of us according to His word.