May 4, 2019
At the annual May Crowning Mass at Bishop Chatard HS on Thursday, I delivered a homily on Luke 2:15-20. Here is a summary of that message:
We often honor Mary for her “Yes!” and her openness to the will of God – and we should. However, that doesn’t mean she was excited about or understood everything that was being asked of her. Her willingness came from a place of trust, based on the knowledge that God was real and present in her life.
Where did that trust come from? We get a glimpse into that very question when we read the story of the Nativity of Jesus in today’s gospel. Mary listened to what the shepherds had to say and we are told she kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.
This is not the only time we hear this said about Mary. When Jesus was a child, he was inadvertently left behind in Jerusalem during the celebration of Passover. Mary and Joseph were sick with worry, but they eventually found him in the temple. When Mary saw Jesus teaching the rabbis and scholars, we hear the same message: Mary kept these things in her heart.
These things she reflects on in her heart make God real and present to her. They act as “God moments” for her and she used those moments to start a file. Additional God moments kept adding to that file and it “built a case” for God. Mary’s trust grew as the file full of evidence grew.
When I saw my oldest daughter holding her own child; I felt God’s presence. When I looked into the eyes of a homeless man as he thanked me for a sandwich I had provided him, God was real and present. When I sat in a boat on a lake as the sun came up I was overwhelmed by the beauty of nature; it was a God moment. I held all of these moments in my heart.
Now, when I am challenged in my faith, or others doubt the existence of God, I can pull these memories from the file in my heart, and offer them as consolation or proof to get me through the difficult times.
We grow in our faith when we “reflect on these things in our hearts.”
What do you do with your God moments? If you reflect on them and hold them in your heart, you will grow in your relationship with God. In that way, when God’s will is revealed to you, you will be able to trust – and offer a confident “Yes!”