08 April 2013

Just let it all go

Solemnity of the Annunciation
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
St. Dominic Church, NOLA

The Risen Lord has been appearing to his disciples off and on for the past week: Emmaus, Jerusalem, the Sea of Tiberias. He'll make a few more appearances before he ascends to the Father and the Holy Spirit descends at Pentecost. Each time, his message to the disciples and to us is the same: “Peace be with you. Do not be afraid. I'm here. I'm always here.” How fitting then that at the annunciation of his conception Gabriel greets our Lord's mother by saying, “Do not be afraid. . .” It's not that the men and women of the first century were easily frightened. But when the Glory of God—in the form of an angelic messenger or the Risen Lord himself—manifests to deliver His Word, even the stoutest soul will flinch, even the strongest among us will dread hearing what comes next. For Mary, what comes next will set her at the center of salvation history and create out of her immaculate faith a kingdom of mercy and grace. Her courageous Yes to Gabriel's invitation to serve as our Lord's mother resounds through centuries-worth of human hearts, and today we hear her say, “Do not be afraid. . .” 

Some eight hundred years before Gabriel's visit to Mary, the prophet Isaiah spoke the word of God to King Ahaz: “. . .the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel. . .” Emmanuel, God-is-with-us. With God among us as one of us, what is there for us to fear? We take our cue from the Blessed Mother and greet fear with courage. Not reckless bravado or bluster but with the sure knowledge and faith that our Father's loving-care provides; His promise to be with us and remain us always is fulfilled in the coming of His Christ. His kingdom of mercy and grace is established, and flourishes among those who have received the gifts of His Holy Spirit. As subjects and heirs of His kingdom, we are commissioned to do as Gabriel did with Mary: announce the Good News. . .do not be afraid. God is with us. He is always with us. Let go of your past. Let go of your sin. Let go of your need to control. Whatever weighs you down, keeps you in the dark, binds you to the things of this world: let it go. There is nothing and no one in this world that can take you beyond the tomb. Unclench your fists and surrender it all to Christ. Isaiah, Gabriel, the Blessed Mother, all say to you: “Do not be afraid. . .God is with us.” 
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6 comments:

  1. Amen! Thank you, Father.

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  2. If the "preacher is preaching to himself", then our Guardian Angels must be in cahoots again. Your Sunday homily and now this short, but very full, homily . . . words escape me. You're only getting tears again today.

    Thank you.

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    1. You're welcomed! And, yes, the preacher preaches to himself first. Though I have little trouble letting things go. My mom passed the LetItGo gene on to me. I've never been one to hold a grudge. . .not very Irish of me, uh?

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    2. I don't know, the Irish men I've known are pretty good at letting things go - down at the pub with a pint or two. That wasn't what hit me this morning, though. “Peace be with you. Do not be afraid. I'm here. I'm always here.” Do not be afraid - faith, courage.

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  3. Great reflection... I just love the idea that the resurrection changes absolutely everything!!

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    1. And it's still changing everything!

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