Just imagine Our Lady being presented with that awesome choice from God. Will she obey, or will she choose her own way? In the pristine beauty of the Garden of Eden, Eve chose to disobey God, and with her choice, sin entered the world. In Nazareth, Mary chose to obey. With her “yes” to God, she became the new Eve and began the undoing of Eve’s disobedience, ushering in God’s grace and redemption. Her yes reversed Eve’s no.
We are all presented with a myriad of choices throughout the course of each day. These choices can bring grace into the world, or they can bring discord. Now of course, we don’t have the benefit of being born without the stain of original sin, like Our Lady. But we are redeemed. When we were baptized, we were cleansed of original sin. Saint Paul tells us that through Christ we have also been blessed with “every spiritual blessing in the heavens” (Ephesians 1:3). And so, like Our Lady, we have all the resources we need to make the right choices.
As Our Lady did, so can we do. In each yes or no we choose, we can foster grace in our lives and the lives of those around us, or we can allow sin to damage us. Will we mess up, and will we say no sometimes? Of course we will, we are human. But that doesn’t mean we should give up. If we say no, or if we fail even to see the choice in the first place, we can still receive God’s forgiveness and restoration. God will always give us another chance. And with every yes that we say to him, the Holy Spirit will strengthen us further for the next choice. And the next one. And the next one.
As the angel Gabriel presented Our Lady with that awesome choice we commemorate today, so we are presented with many awesome choices through the people with whom we share our lives. Will we say ‘yes’ to the people who need our help, and will we be bearers of grace to those in need?