Mary said Yes
Homily for Chapel
St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School
12-15-09 AND 12/13/16
High on the mantelpiece sat a plain, woven basket. Every Advent, my mother would bring it out, show us a china figure of the infant Jesus, and announce that it was our job to prepare a bed for him. Every good deed we did — every time we obeyed our parents, or helped a brother or sister, or did our homework without being reminded — we got to place a “straw” — a piece of yarn — in the basket. You might think it got filled up pretty quickly with 8 children contributing – but we were just ordinary kids, and so, many of those yarns got taken away because we fought, or forgot to do our chores. Mysteriously, though, by Christmas day, that baby always had a soft, cozy resting place.
Today, in our reading we heard about the person who made Jesus his very first resting place. Now, Jesus was a special baby, but he had to be born, just like any ordinary baby. He needed the same things other babies need. And do you know what a baby needs most of all? Every baby needs a MOTHER. Without a mother, there is no baby!
So this is the story of Jesus’ mother, Mary, and how she came to BE his mother. She was just an ordinary teenager on that warm spring day, when a soft breeze was blowing through the olive trees and playing the branches like strings on a harp. Mary might have been watching the leaves dance, or hanging the laundry out to dry, or feeding the chickens. She might have been praying. We don’t really know.
We DO know that suddenly, something changed. On that ordinary day, something EXTRAordinary happened. Suddenly, there was an EXTRAordinary sound, and Mary heard a voice she had never heard before.
(ring bells.) “Hail, favored one.”
Mary looked up and saw . . . someone she had never seen before. He was not just a stranger – he was strange. Though he had the shape of an ordinary man, he was EXTRAordinary, because he had wings as white as snow and eyes like two flames. Mary was ready to run away, Then the voice spoke again:
(ring) “Do not be afraid.”
Mary was afraid, but she was also brave, so she stopped, turned around, and heard the Angel Gabriel say:
(ring) “God has chosen you to bear a child who will be God’s own presence on earth. People will call him the Son of God. You will call him Jesus.”
Mary wondered how that could be. She wondered how someone as young as she was could be a mother. She wondered how someone as ordinary as she was could be the mother of God.
But then she heard the voice again:
(ring) “Nothing will be impossible with God!”
Then Mary, this ordinary girl, said something EXTRAordinary. Something inside her began to stir. She felt as if the breeze blowing the leaves outside was blowing through her soul. She felt her heart swell with love, until it felt like a huge, golden bell inside her chest, and she answered in words that still ring in people’s ears today. Mary said:
(ring) Here I am
(ring) the servant of the Lord,
(ring) Let it be with me, according to God’s word.”
Mary said: (ring) YES.
That is Mary’s story. And it is your story, too.
Mary made room for God, and carried Jesus in her own body. You can make room for God, too, and carry him in your heart – this Christmas and always. Every time you show kindness to someone, your heart grows bigger. It is like you are inviting God to come and live inside you. It is like you are saying to God, (ring) “Here I am, God. (ring) YES.”