When I was looking at the First Reading, I was struck by the person of Abraham and his great act of faith. Abraham was asked to leave everything, his family and country. God, of course, made some great promises to him, but even so, Abraham had to say “Yes” for anything to happen. What would have happened if Abraham would have said no? His “yes” made him the father of all nations. His “no” would have changed the story of salvation history.
This is an amazing thing that God has entrusted salvation history to us. We know that Abraham’s faith was attested as great. Even though he himself failed in faith, it almost seems justifiable. God promised Abraham that his descendants would rival the number of the stars. Who could blame Abraham for trying it his own way when he kept getting older and no son ever came. Abraham commits adultery and God stops talking to him for close to ten years. I know sometimes we feel as Catholics that we get hard penances, but I have never handed out circumcision in order to return to God's favour. Yet that is what was required, and even with Abraham's struggles with faith, his “yes” and his return to the “yes” affected us to this day.
Or look at another “yes,” the “Yes” of Mary. God did not go to Mary and say, “You are pregnant, deal with it.” Mary was asked and she said yes; she could have said no. What would have happened then? Who knows. Thank God we don't have to find out. Our “yes” to God is also very important. I look at my father’s side of the family - French and Catholic for many generations. Someone in my family said “yes” many years ago and that affects me, that “yes”, because I grew up Catholic.
God waits for our “yes.” The salvation of the world depends on our “yes” so God’s great plans can be fulfilled in us. I remember when I was a new priest and I had a baptismal class. One of the young couples was a Catholic mother, and the father had no faith background. Her family did not do much for her in the way of faith. In the class, I challenged them because they were not married. The young lady was not very happy. I think if she would have had super powers in her eyes she would have killed me from the glare I got. I said, “What if I call you in six months?” They said fine, so I did and they said, “We are not ready.” I said okay and six months later they called me to tell me he had proposed and she started to come to RCIA classes. She liked them so much that she invited him. They stayed and he became Catholic and she returned to the faith she had never really known. They got married and they said the high point had been the ceremony itself. They practice their faith today and raise their family in the faith. My “yes” changed people and so did their “yes.”
Another example from when I was in Williams Lake was when a woman came to talk to me, and an odd statement that I made caused her to revisit an abortion she had as a teenager. She said “yes” to healing, and even brought me along to the retreat. Her “yes” brought about healing for many men and women and she has since spoken to thousands of people about God’s healing and mercy. Her “yes” changed the lives of many people.
God is calling us to say “yes” to the salvation of those around us. For parents, it means to raise your children in the faith and to help your children inspire their friends. We all have a call to share our faith by what we do. God has a plan for each and every one of us. It is interesting to know that the salvation of others is related to us. This is why what God said in the Gospel is so important. God said, “This is my beloved son. Listen to Him.” God wants to share His plan for us and we have to ask to listen. No one here is merely meant to fill a spot in the pew just so I don't look foolish preaching to an empty church. No, you and I have a part to play in the salvation of the world which God has entrusted to us and waits for our “yes”. What is His plan? Well, we must listen. Today is a good day to ask that question and pray for the grace to say “Yes.” Our salvation, and the salvation of the world, depends on it.