The following homily was delivered by Fr. Sigmund de Guzman, SJ during the Grade School Mass in Honor of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary last October 28, 2016 at the Sports Center.
The story of Mary begins with the words ‘Don’t be afraid.’ It’s what Gabriel says to Mary.
Fear is the most destructive emotion on earth today. Everyone is living or working in fear. The mother is afraid for her children, the father for his business, the worker is afraid of his boss, his job. There is hardly a person who is not afraid today.
What are you afraid of? Snakes? Spiders? Heights? Exams? Teachers? Mommy?
Mary was also afraid and confused by what God wanted her to do. But she trusted God – and she became courageous.
A father, seeing three small children playing on top of a high fence, feared that they would fall; and so he cried, “Come, jump into my arms!”
Two of them promptly did so. The other hesitated.
Why did the third child react more slowly?
The father explained, “The first two obeyed immediately because they were my own children. They knew me and therefore trusted me.”
I believe that Mary, obviously, knew God and trusted God. That is why, when she was asked to “jump” — to become the mother of God, she humbly trusted God’s invitation. Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant! Let it happen as you have said.”
What does God really want from us? You – your weakness, your failure, your fear. God wants you to be loved, to be held strongly, to be challenged deeply, to be changed forever. This is what God wants from us.
Do not be afraid. The month of Mary is a time to step forward to what you think you’re afraid of, to strip away those layers upon layers of fear and anxiety. So that who “I am” can be there, laid bare before God – like what Mary did “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.”
A pilot had trouble will all four engines of his plane. One by one they were conking out.
Pilot: (Panic) Control Tower! Mayday! Mayday!
Control: Roger, we hear you!
Pilot: I’m heading for a crash. All engines are down! Give me instructions!
Control: Roger, OK. Repeat after me . . . “ Holy Mary, mother of God, Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
“Do not be afraid”. . . . I love Mary because she can gather strength from distress and grow brave by prayer. I love Mary because she models to me what courage is: Courage is fear that has said its prayers.
My dear friends, do not be afraid. The Lord will be with you always — in your troubles, your trials and suffering. Live on. Be brave and trust in the perfect love of God for you.
Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be done to me according to your will.” Amen.