Mary as the model of obedience

What we celebrate today is Mary’s unconditional ‘Yes’ to the plan of God the Father, to use her as a vessel of bringing salvation to humanity. This wholly detached obedience to God is Mary’s sacrifice to God which makes her favorable to God and makes all generations to call her blessed. She receives Gabriel’s announcement with wonder but not with the least doubt either in intention or the power of God. She did not understand how conceiving by the power of the Holy Spirit means and yet she put herself without reservation into the hands of God saying ‘See Lord, I am all yours, do with me as you please’.

In our readings today, this astounding surrender of Mary to God’s announcement is contrasted with the astounding obstinacy and disobedience of King Ahaz. Many of you may wonder why King Ahaz could not just do what God was asking him through prophet Isaiah. Don’t be too quick to blame him because many of us in his position would do the same or even worse. Ahaz was just being a realistic politician by the standards of this world. At this Time Jerusalem is gravely threatened by two enemy armies (Syria and Ephraim), with an intention to depose Ahaz as King. He had already lost a considerable number of troops and in all appearances he was losing the war. Therefore King Ahaz reached out to Assyria for help. It is at this time that prophet Isaiah appears and tells King Ahaz that God says he should not ask for any help from Assyria because God himself will deliver Jerusalem from the enemy alliance of Syria and Ephraim. Isaiah tells king Ahaz to ask God for a sign-‘any sign’, as a prove that the Lord will do what He is promising.

King Ahaz in his panic and anxiety, refuses to ask for the sign because he had already made up his mind about liaising with Assyria, and his faith in God was pretty low. It is in the face of this blatant disobedience of King Ahaz that God gives a sign anyway, by holding up Mary (over 700 years before her birth) a sign of obedience by which God saves. She is the immaculate virgin who conceives Immanuel – God with us as the ultimate savior of the world.

The offspring of the Lady carried the astounding obedience of his mother to infinite height and power, in his obedience to God the Father. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews tell us that it is this obedience that makes Jesus’ sacrifice of the cross efficacious (to accomplish our salvation once and for all) in contrast to the sacrifices of animals that was done in the OT. The cross of Jesus is the ultimate icon of obedience of the Son of God, which has its foundation in the obedience of Mary.

It is on the cross where Jesus leaves us Mary as our Mother when he said to John the apostle ‘Son behold your mother’ and ‘Mother behold your son’. Jesus wants us to learn obedience from Mary as he himself learnt, without prejudice to his Godhead.

Therefore as young High School girls, if you are asked to think about what is holy, and act in a holy way, it is not for fear punishment or other problems but because you earnestly want to obey God. It is because you respect God. This is what Mary teaches us. We don’t want to harm our bodies with drugs, alcohol or sexual immorality. The main reason is not because you are fearing to go nuts or to fail your examinations or to get pregnant. These are reasons of course but they are minor. The main reason is because God has ordained that your body is His temple and it shall no defiled. You don’t want to cheat or steal or do all sorts of injustices to other people, not because you do fear to be imprisoned, but because God has said love your neighbor as yourself and be just as I the Lord your God am just. Therefore we hear, believe and act as God has commanded not because we fear to go to hell, but because our God whom we love and trust has said so.

This is the model of obedience we learn from Mary our mother. We therefore pray today that through the intercession of Mary, God may open our hearts to trust and obedience as we learn from Mary our Mother.