Homily: The Annunciation

I have a great joy being here praying with you this feast day. Now I like St Joseph, but I think the Annunciation is a greater feast so we're doing something special for it.
That's such a striking line in the Collect: "the beauty of your power". Our world is obsessed with power. You can see it on the interstate with the SUV fleets--and they do not respect my little car. We just had a huge political battle, which is seemingly going to have a huge impact on our life. Some are saying it is the biggest blow to the pro-life movement since Roe v. Wade. As I was watching all this about the health care debate, the politicians seemed incredibly ugly. They were dead to goodness and beauty. Lord Acton said power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We have such appetites for power: of intellect, will, influence, friends. But the power of God is in greatest contrast to this: the motherhood of the barren Elizabeth, and the virgin mother Mary. The power of God is opposite our human expectations. We are told cursed is he who trusts in man; but blessed is he who trusts in the Lord. In the midst of the world's lust for power, we here are an oasis of God's work in the world today. But the Church is not free from the desire for power; the Church has made monsters. I hate to say it, but Hitler was never excommunicated. It [the Church] suffers sinfulness and weakness.
But the kingdom of God is not about earthly power. God works in ways we cannot imagine, especially in the darkest of nights. It is fortuitous that so often the Annunciation falls in Lent near to Holy Week. These two mysteries are intertwined. And what do you do when Good Friday falls on March 25? I once visited a Byzantine monastery when this happened. They celebrated both Offices in full. We were never out of the chapel. When Mary gave her fiat, she said yes not only to the Incarnation but to the crucifixion as well. She gave God a blank check.
What does it mean that Mary is virgin? Above the physical aspect, her strength was in the Spirit, and not in man.
Behold the beauty of her yes; the beauty of this yes, which has captured our hearts for two-thousand years. You men are here because of your yes. Maybe because of the food, but you gave an inital yes to God. Build your vocation on your yes. When its tough going, dig in and hold on. Call on God, he won't abandon you. The yes or no is yours; it is not for your bishop or your vocation director or your family to say yes, but you alone. You are invited to participate in the Annunciation, and bring forth Jesus Christ in the flesh.

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