What Face Do You Have?

21 December 2008 Fourth Sunday of Advent
2 Samuel 7, 1-16, Psalm 89, Rom 16, 25-27 and Luke 1, 26-38: The Annunciation

Note: The Gospel is the same for both the 20th and 21st December 2008. This homily can be used for both the dawn masses and the 4th Sunday of Advent.

The internet uses emoticons as substitute for facial expressions we usually get in face-to-face conversations. There are different facial expressions. But no emoticons can draw a “Yes” face or a “No” face.

What’s a “NO” face? In the time of the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament, God argued with Ahaz practically begging Ahaz to accept the promise he wished to offer through the prophet Isaiah. The Lord told Ahaz, “The Virgin shall be with child, and bear a son and shall name him Emmanuel.” But Ahaz said, “No”.

Perhaps, Ahaz is typical of many of us. God plans great things for us, but we resist and argue with him. Take for example opportunities to serve others. What is our common answer? Paki-hugas ng pinggan, anak? May gagawin pa ako e! Makisuyo po, pwede bang makigamit ng computer? Di pwede! Linis naman tayo ng ating tambayan? Ay, di ako pwede. May tatapusin pa kasi ako.

Or you can watch your attitude whenever someone makes a promise. Like the first reading, the Lord makes the same promise of establishing an eternal kingdom. If faced with a somewhat grandiose promise what do you say: Ay naku, hindi yan matutupad. Hmp, promise are meant to be broken. Yang pangako mong iibigin ako magpakailanman, tingnan natin, mapapako din yan.

Kapag puro ka, “NO” , kung palagi kang NEGAtive --- you have a “NO-FACE!”

What’s a “Yes” face?

During his days as president, Thomas Jefferson and a group of companions were traveling across the country on horseback. They came to a river which had left its banks because of a recent downpour. The swollen river had washed the bridge away. Each rider was forced to ford the river on horseback, fighting for his life against the rapid currents.

The very real possibility of death threatened each rider, which caused the traveler who was not part of their group to step aside and watch. After several had plunged in and made it to the other side, the traveler asked President Jefferson if he would ferry him across the river. The president agreed without hesitation.

The man climbed on and shortly thereafter, the two of them made it safely to the other side. As the stranger slid off the back of the saddle into dry ground, one in the group asked him, “Tell me, why did you select the president to ask this favor of?” The man was shocked, admitting he had no idea it was the president who had helped him. “All I know,” he said, “is that on some of your faces was written the answer, “No” and on some of them was the answer “Yes”. His was a “Yes” face.

When God asked Mary to be the mother of His Son, Mary readily agreed and made herself available. She said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord!” Mary had a “Yes-face!”

So, kapag puro ka: “Ok po, pwede po akong tumulong. Ano po ang puwede kong gawin. Sige po, volunteer po ako sa paghahakot ng relief goods. Ako na po ang maghuhugas ng pinggan. Ipapaxerox ko na po ito mamya. Tingnan ko po kung puwede po ako.” Ikaw ay may “YES-FACE!”

God cannot enter into our hearts unless we become more hospitable to him. Having a Yes-face is about being available for someone, other than our selfish self. Being ready to serve other than be served. Thus, we pray that we open ourselves up, to soften our resistance to God’s blessings, to free ourselves from the obstacles that hinder Christ’s entrance in our hearts, to make ourselves more welcoming to Him and others. Only if we say yes to God, “Let your will be done” as Mary said, will we be able to be ready for his promise: “He shall receive blessing from the Lord.”

So, how about you? Do you have a NO-Face or a YES-face?

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