Recently I was waiting in line at the drive through of a fast food place, getting ready to order my “fish sandwich
meal” (yay for Lent!) and either my eyes were going bad or else the part of the display that listed the drink options seemed to be all fogged over and unreadable. It kinda looked like one of the options was “Mr. Pibb” so I
asked to order that, but the pleasant voice emanating from the loudspeaker informed me that they did not have
that, and asked if “Dr. Pepper” would be okay instead.
I said yes.
And… that was it. I enjoyed my fast food fish sandwich (as much as one can “enjoy” one of those), munched on
my fries, and drank my Dr. Pepper. But that decision to say “yes” to Dr. Pepper didn’t have any meaningful impact on my life. Honestly, it didn’t even have any meaningful impact on my meal that day. Many of the decisions
we make every day are like this. We say “yes” to something, but the yes to that something rather than a different
something is insignificant in the wider picture of our lives.
But sometimes, our yesses are far more significant. Many high school seniors have multiple options for where to
go to college. Which school they give their “yes” to is going to impact not only their next four years, but likely
their lives for long beyond that time. There are times when people who are working are extended a job offer that
marks a substantial shift in career path, or requires a move across the country to a new and unfamiliar location.
Answering that question with a yes can change someone’s life in a radical way. Many of you reading this have
had the experience of getting down on one knee (or, having your beloved get down on one knee) and ask a question that, if answered with a “yes,” quite literally changes the trajectory of two people’s lives forever (“until death
do us part.”) One question. One yes. Two lives changed forever.
There are questions that, when answered with a yes, are lifechanging.
But none of these examples equals in magnitude the most important question, and the most important “yes,” ever
delivered in history. And that was the yes, the fiat, uttered by Mary to the archangel Gabriel. Her “yes” to God’s
plan was not merely lifechanging, but changed the course of human history for all eternity. At her “yes,” the
eternal Son of the eternal Father took our human nature to Himself and was incarnate in her virginal womb. Her
yes ushered in the age of salvation. Her yes gave the world its Savior.
None of us will ever have God ask us a question of the magnitude of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But all of us, continually through our lives, will face questions from God. Will we answer “yes” to those questions? When we
know we are being called to turn off our screens and spend some time this evening in prayer, will we say yes?
When someone has hurt us and we are being called to forgive rather than harbor a grudge, will we say yes? When
we hear there is a desperate need for citizens to witness to the sanctity of life by joining a prayer vigil for 40
Days for Life, or taking time to write (or email or call) our elected representatives when issues like Assisted Suicide are being debated in our state, will we say yes?
None of us will give a “yes” that will bring salvation to the whole world. But our yesses can change lives both
our own, and the lives of others.
As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation this coming week, I pray that the example and intercession of
Our Lady might inspire us and strengthen us in saying “yes” to everything God is asking, at every moment, every
If we do… our world will never be the same.
Fr. John Paul