20th December

Today’s gospel is Luke’s Annunciation and Mary’s fiat/yes: I am the handmaiden of themadonna Lord, let it be done unto me according to thy word. Here is a commentary on this gospel by Pope Francis given on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. (National Catholic Register.)

The contrast between the “No” of man in the Garden of Eden and the “Yes” of Mary at the Annunciation was the heart of Pope Francis’ message for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, which he said is an opportunity for each person to renew their own commitment to God.

When Mary says “I am the handmaid of the Lord” in response to the news that she will become the Mother of God, she doesn’t say: “this time I will do the will of God, I am available, then I’ll see”.

“Hers is a full Yes, without conditions,” he said, noting that at times, instead of imitating this attitude, “we are experts in the ‘half-Yes:’ we are good at pretending not to understand what God wants and consciousness suggests.”

We can also be “cunning” and avoid saying “a true and firm ‘no’ to God” by making excuses, such as “I can’t,” or “‘not today, but tomorrow … tomorrow I will be better, tomorrow I will pray, I will do good, tomorrow,” the Pope said.

However, by doing this “we close the door to good and evil profits from these missing ‘yeses,’” Francis said, noting that each one of us has “a collection” of these missing yeses inside.

Each full and unreserved “Yes” we say to God is the beginning of a new story, he said. Saying Yes to God “is truly original, not sin, which makes us old inside.”

“Have you thought about this? That sin makes you age inside? It makes you age right away!” he said, adding that “every Yes to God begins a story of salvation for us and for others.”