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Our Parish Feast Day and Saying Yes

hopperHappy and Blessed Feast of the Immaculate Conception!

What, you may ask, does this Grace Hopper quotation have to do with the Feast of the Annunciation?

I do not know why this struck me this morning, but it did. Today’s Google Doodle is for Grace Hopper, and it derailed my original post, which was almost complete and ready to go. That post was about interruption and grace… so I will take this interruption and redirect as a gift of grace as well.

The thing that hit me when I saw the Google Doodle was this – Mary, because of her nature, understood inner authority and the authority of God. She never paused to consider that she might want to talk to her parents about this or bring them in. Yes, that is a contemporary cultural overlay, but aren’t we called to understand catechesis in that context?

945252714b44f4eeb0cdf58b16d9b4b2Anyway, Mary says yes, without apology. Mary did not ask permission from her parents, she may have been startled, but in the end she simply said yes.

In today’s readings today’s readings, we can take note that Adam and Eve did not understand inner authority nor hearing the voice of God as well as Mary did. My hope and prayer is that we can get ourselves to a different place in regard to the long-standing exegesis that makes all of this about sex alone. This day is about the deeper, wiser, understanding of how God interacts with us, and about who we are in responding to God. Saying yes isn’t the thing alone, it is knowing who to say yes to and when to do so.

And one more thing… Today marks (well, like the feast, off by one day!) my fifth anniversary of working at Immaculate Conception. What an adventure – one that I am grateful beyond measure that I said YES to! Ironically, I am home sick today, but my heart is always planted in the community. Thank you for always welcoming me and for your prayers and support! God bless you all!

Mary Mother of God

Mary, Mother of God – January 1, 2013
(This homily was written for and first published in the book, Hungry and You Fed Me: Homilies and Reflections for Cycle C.)

Many years ago, I befriended a woman with whom I had nothing in common. In fact, we were far apart in many ways. She was one of the “cool people” that a self-professed nerd like me might never get to know. However, academic circumstances brought us together, and we became good friends. What struck me the most about her, when we first became more closely acquainted, was how “human” she turned out to be. From my original point of view, this woman seemed to have it all; she appeared completely self-confident and self-possessed, she was remarkably beautiful, and she maintained an aura of perfection that seemed unattainable to us mere mortals.

Over time we got to know one another, and a real friendship began to develop. This woman began to reveal just how challenging things were for her. First of all, she was not perfect, although I found that hard to believe. At that age, I believed that we were all socially divided into some “have/have not scheme” when it came to perfection. To that end, I was Continue reading

Say yes

Today, our parish feast day, is about the freedom to say yes. That is what I think of today- the freedom to say yes, and the courage to do so, under what must have felt like impossible circumstances. That is why these are two of my favorite Annunciation images, both Pre-Raphelite, not a particularly favorite style of art for me.

A-Annunciation_rossettiwaterhouse_the_annunciation(click on the images to enlarge them)

Shocked. Surprised. Frightened. But still she said… yes.

And that changed everything. Everything.

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