Sermon for Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Feast of the Annunciation
Preached at Bethany Convent, Arlington
If there is a common thread in this morning’s readings, it is the doing of God’s will. In Isaiah, it was God’s will that Ahaz ask God for a sign. Hebrews writes that “It is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” And Luke’s story of the angel announcing to Mary ends with Mary’s acquiescing to God’s will: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”
Today’s Feast bears witness to the far-reaching effects of doing God’s will. Not our will, but God’s. The plans we make, the endeavors we undertake on our own apart from God, are bound to remain mediocre, if not outright fail. But what we undertake according to God’s will, “will accomplish that which he has purposed, and prosper in that for which he sent it.” No matter how small a matter it may seem to us, as we seek God’s will and not our own, God will use us to accomplish his purposes, which are in the end always great purposes (though we may not see how). The more we seek God’s will and not our own, the more the life of Christ will be conceived and born in us, as he was conceived and born in Mary. And conceiving and bearing Christ in this world is the most efficacious thing we can do to help God in God’s mission of reconciling this world to Himself. It is also the most rewarding way we human beings can live our lives.