None of us can deny that the world in which we live is becoming increasingly more secular and materialistic. The culture in which we are being formed is one that has become more and more alienated from, and at times even hostile towards, the things of God. What we value most as Catholics is questioned and even discounted by many people who see us as irrelevant.
This creates a challenge for us who are called to proclaim and announce the message of the Gospel to the world. What does it mean to announce this message of faith and eternal life in a context where materialism and the values of this world only hold sway? Even within the Church, we encounter the difficulty of announcing the Good News to those who have also been affected by the culture in which we live. I’m sure you’ve discovered in your work in the diocese that catechesis is accomplished only with difficulty. So, what can we offer to the world and to the Church facing such adversity and so many obstacles to faith and the truth of the Gospel?
On this feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we are reminded that when we give what we have to God, he “by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). A young girl, especially in the cultural climate of Palestine two thousand years ago, would have been pretty insignificant in comparison with the great religious and political conflicts that abounded at that time in Roman occupied Palestine. She wasn’t a man who could someday become king, or even have any influence on the political scene. Yet that young girl would be the gateway through which the Redeemer of the world would come. Upon her “Fiat,” her simple, humble, “Yes,” to God rests the hope of salvation and the redemption of all mankind. Mary was all that Anne and Joachim had, and they gave her to God. The rest is salvation history.
So, what is God asking of us today? What is the offering you are asked to make as you continue your lives as Dominican Sisters? Because the world in which we live doesn’t value your vocation. Your offering may seem insignificant and insufficient to meet the needs of what the world is searching for. But that offering, made to God in sincere faith and trust in Him, has the power to bear tremendous fruit in the Church and in the world. Today we make that offering to God as we celebrate this Mass. Joined to Our Lord’s sacrifice and His offering at this altar, we surrender to God all that we have, and we trust in faith that He will accomplish great things in us.