One "Yes" Leads to Another
by Lori Heine
In the American Roman Catholic Church, January 1 is the feast day of Mary, Mother of God. This is not celebrated in other faith traditions, but it is interesting to reflect on how this feast launches a New Year. In the apostolic tradition, the Mother of Christ symbolizes all who say “yes” to God. Indeed, her “yes” made all the others possible. Even Jesus could agree to live out God’s will in this world only because His mother first agreed to bear Him.
Our very existence attests to the fact that God asks us a question: “Will you follow Me, and will you live out My will?” No one else can answer for us; each of us must give an answer for ourselves. But ours is a faith rooted in real history. Jesus was a human being, like us, as well as the Son of God. Every human being is born with the ability to freely choose God – or to reject “Him” – and even Christ was no exception.
How will we answer? Which way will we turn? Those who went before us made it possible for us to answer in the affirmative, or even to answer at all. Without Christ, there would be no choice, and without His mother, there would have been no Jesus to live among us and proclaim God’s love.
LGBT believers are the heirs to that choice, as much as anyone else is. Jesus could have limited His contact, as all upright Jewish men were “supposed” to do, to those who fit neatly in with the strictures of the times, those who easily and scrupulously followed the legal guidelines to the letter. But He was a firebrand, who sought out the company of those rejected by the upright folks as sinners. He loved the misfits and the rebels – in fact, He was one, Himself.
He was the son of a frightened and vulnerable teenaged mother, and He was born under a cloud of societal disapproval. His father was not her husband, Joseph, but Almighty God. That was not understood, we can be sure, by polite religious society. They don’t understand, today, that we are God’s children, too.
We are God’s children because Jesus is God’s Child. We are heirs to the Kingdom because He has gathered us in. All that matters is His “yes,” which makes our possible. And His “yes” was made possible by His mother’s.
Perhaps, as we begin a New Year as Christians, we should pause to remember that scared teenaged girl who faced society’s disapproval to do the will of God in a way few understood. She chose to trust in God’s love, even when others didn’t. We owe Mary of Nazareth a hearty thanks for giving us the chance to trust in that love, too.
© 2011 Lori Heine
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