Discerning Our Vocation -The Annunciation of The Lord ~ The Very Rev. Lady Sherwood, OPI

Reading 1: IS 7:10-14; 8:10

Responsorial Psalm: 40:7-8A, 8B-9, 10, 11

Reading 2: HEB 10:4-10

Gospel: LK 1:26-38.

Liturgical colour: White.

Today’s we celebrate the Annunciation of The Lord. I feel this is an excellent occasion for each of us to reflect upon our life vocations.  Every single  one of us, like Mary, have a  predestined vocation in life.  It is  definitely not by chance, it was planned by God for us before we were born.  God has created each one of us here upon the Earth for a purpose, that purpose being to manifest His glory and  to share His love, so that at the end of our earthly journey, we can share the fullness of eternal life with Him.  And so, each of us, just as Mary did, must ensure the time to discern our vocation in life,  to find out exactly what  it is which God is calling us to do.  The way the Lord wants us to serve Him might change according to life’s situation.  Therefore, we  must endeavour  to constantly be sensitive, like Mary indeed was, to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and how we should respond to God’s call.  When Mary asked the angel, “But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?”, it was not  with a similar  response to that which was like Zechariah who asked in doubt.  For Mary, she truly and devoutly wanted to know how the Lord would make use of her for the work of redemption.

So it is of vital importance to remind ourselves constantly within our lives, that we need to ask what  exactly it is which the Lord is asking of us. Sadly,  Many, unfortunately, instead of seeking  their vocation, seek to do their own will, rather than the Will of God in their lives instead. When we do not consult God and are simply willful in going our own way, we will bring disaster not just to ourselves but also to those  that God has placed under our care.   Indeed, many of us, instead of discerning the will of God in whatever we do, turn to worldly answers instead.

Today, we actually come together to celebrate not just Mary alone in her Vocation,  but we celebrate both our Lord Jesus and Mary for taking up their vocation in life.  Originally, today was singly celebrated as the Annunciation of Mary  only, but it the church changed this to the Annunciation of the Lord.  The church amended this because it is in fact both  our Lord Jesus’ and Mary’s vocations that are intertwined.  Mary’s response to the call to be the Mother of God is what paved the way for our Lord and Saviour, Jesus, to be incarnated and for the work of redemption of humanity.  Mary in saying “Yes” to God, considered herself as being “the handmaid of the Lord.”

Try to imagine the truthful immense scale of the decision of Mary to accept her vocation  to be The mother of our Saviour. This certainly was anything but an easy decision, but Mary put her complete trust in the Will of the blessed vocation that God had willed for her. Let us consider the implications of her decision to be the mother of the Lord and saviour!.  As any mother will know, it is not so difficult to give birth to a baby but to look after a baby for the rest of your life, that is a different matter altogether.  Marriage is another example of a difficult decision because to get married is very easy but to remain faithful and loving to your spouse every day of your life requires tremendous sacrifices and sufferings.  So when Mary gave her consent, she too consented to all that would follow after that big and fundamental “Yes.”  So, this also applies, for all who chooses to follow the vocation God has willed for their life.  Making our decision to follow the will of God for our lives, is truly only the beginning of a lifelong commitment.  We accept God’s will for the entirety of our  lives, So therefore, we should not complain and or have regret when we choose to be a priest, religious, a spouse or a church worker, or whatever vocation that God has willed for us to have in his service, because every vocation comes together with all its joys and sorrows. Quite often, when people face trials in their vocation, be it in their priestly or religious life, or in marriage and family life, they regret and complain. In accepting that vocation, it entails all the obligations and demands that flow from that commitment.

Both Jesus and Mary recognized that answering God’s call required total self-emptying.  It is a sacrifice of oneself,  the giving one’s mind, heart and body to God completely for His service.

That was exactly why Mary said to the angel, “Let what you have said be done to me.”  She was totally disposed to the will of God.  To do God’s will is to  completely submit our lives to Him in obedience.  It is to give ourselves wholly for the service of God and to empty our lives for humanity like both Jesus  and Mary did.  We are called to serve both justice and truth.

Let us pray:

Saying “Yes” to the vocation that God Wills for our lives is the only wise decision. This is what was predestinated by God for us before we were born. We ask Mary the Mother of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus christ, to intercede for us with her prayers, so that, we, like she did, will have the courage and discipline to say “Yes” to God. We rejoice together with Mary that God’s will shall be done in our lives.

Amen.

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