Homily for the Night of Merciful Love, December 2020 at Holy Name of Jesus. Votive Mass for the Blessed Virgin Mary, Chosen Daughter of Israel.
As I mentioned at the beginning of Mass, tonight I have chosen to celebrate a Votive Mass for the Blessed Virgin Mary, Chosen Daughter of Israel. It is one of the Masses given to us by the Church for this Season of Advent that calls us to reflect on how God’s plan of salvation has been in the works from the very beginning. And we hear about that in our readings for tonight.
As Christians, we know that God’s revelation began with our first parents, Adam and Eve. But after the Fall, the Father needed a way for us to be able to one day return to Him and enter into eternal communion with Him in Heaven. So, the remarkable story of salvation and redemption begins to unfold with Abraham, our father in faith. In our First Reading, we hear about the Promise of God to Abraham, that God would make of him a great nation, that he would be the father of many nations. And even though he may not have fully understood what the Lord was promising, Abraham was still obedient to God’s will. He “went as the Lord directed” and, because of that, was given the assurance that his descendants would inherit the Promised Land.
While this passage from the Book of Genesis gives just a glimpse into the life of Abraham and Sarah, it also shows us how the Father chooses his children to carry out His Divine will. When God said to Abraham that he “will make his name great and that all generations will be blessed in him, do we not see a foretaste of the blessing the Lord was to bestow on Mary” and, through her, all of us as the followers of her son? That’s what the Gospel reminds us of. It reminds us that, as followers of Jesus, we are adopted into his family lineage. Through our baptism, we become the heirs to the Promise that God made to Abraham. But that Promise was not inheriting the land of Israel. The promise for us is that we will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
The plan of salvation that the Lord began with Abraham and Sarah, continued throughout the generations all the way to the birth of Jesus. The fulfillment of that plan hasn’t yet been realized. One day it will be, though, when Jesus returns in glory. On that day, all of us who remain faithful to God will be filled with divine life and will realize the fullness of what it means to be beloved sons and daughters of God. That expectation is at the heart of everything God has done throughout history. It is at the heart of everything God has done in our own lives.
God only desires for us to be with Him for all eternity. He wants us to dwell with Him forever in Heaven. That desire is so important to Him that not even our fall into sin could make the Lord forget the Promise He has made to us. Even in the midst of that sin, the Father desires for us to one day be reunited with Him. Look at all He has done to make that desire a reality. He sent His Son into the world to die for us on a cross, to be the bridge that makes the journey home to heaven possible. He has given us the Sacraments of the Church to bring us more deeply into relationship with Him. That’s why the gift of His mercy and the grace of the Sacrament of Penance is such an important part of our lives as Catholics. It reconnects us back to the Father and brings us more deeply into communion with Him. But there is also another important gift that the Lord has given to us as a human race: the gift of this Chosen Daughter of Israel. Mary. She is the model for us. She is the ideal Christian disciple.
Mary reminds us that each of us has been called to fulfill a specific role in the Kingdom of God. “Because her role is so pivotal in God’s plan, Mary stands as the supreme example of what can happen to us as we yield to the Lord and allow his plan to unfold in our lives.” Just like Abraham, Mary didn’t fully understand the plan of salvation that God was going to bring to fulfillment through her yes; yet, she still was obedient to God despite that uncertainty. And so, she is the one that we should emulate in conforming our own wills to that of the Father. Even though we don’t know exactly what the Lord is asking us to do, even if we don’t see the fullness of His plan for our lives, we are still called to echo Mary’s yes in our hearts. We are invited to say yes to the Father and yield to His Will every single day. That’s what this season of Advent is all about. In what ways are we not conforming our wills to that of the Father’s?
As we approach the Christmas season in just 20 days, may we continue to look to Mary and ask for her intercession. Tonight we are going to have the opportunity to consecrate ourselves to Mary…or for those of us who have already done so, we re-consecrate ourselves to her. We invite her to be our example. We invite her to be our spiritual mother, to walk with us on our own journey of faith. We, too, are chosen sons and daughters of God. May we always look to Mary, the Chosen Daughter of Israel, to strengthen us and intercede for us as we prepare to welcome her son into our hearts.
 “The Blessed Virgin Mary, Chosen Daughter of Israel,” The Liturgical Press, https://litpress.org/Products/GetSample/3553/9780814635537.
 “The Chosen Daughter of Israel: Mary’s Role Throughout Salvation History,” The Word Among Us, October 2006, https://www2.wau.org/archives/article/the_chosen_daughter_of_israel1/