Today’s Gospel was about Joseph receiving a message from an angel in his sleep that he was to take Mary as his wife, and serve as a father to the child who would be called Emmanual. The reason I bring this up is to highlight the message that the Lord is also speaking to you. Those simple words, “It is you”.
Joseph being a righteous man most likely believed Mary, that indeed she was pregnant with the son of God. What Joseph more likely struggled with was knowing that God indeed was calling him to raise up His only begotten son. This is probably why Joseph almost walked away, but the Lord called him by name. Affirming in him that “it is you”. It is you whom I have called.
I think we can all relate to St. Joseph in this moment, but so few people are willing to surrender and listen as St. Joseph did. Notice how Joseph was asleep when this message was spoken to him. This is significant. Him being asleep signifies Joseph being willing to lay himself down before the Lord and let him speak to his troubled heart. Joseph did not stay awake trying to find the solution himself, rather he freely went to sleep. This act of surrender to total unity with God is how we find peace in the choices that we discern. We were not made for restlessness and anxieties, we were made for peace.
God wishes to grant us peace. First though we must let Jesus look upon us. I remember at New Years, after the clock struck midnight at the SLS conference, they brought Jesus out in the monstrance. There I was trying to kneel down amidst the thousands of balloons that had fallen, in a crowd of thousands of other people. Everyone was on their knees, and it was silent. All you could here was balloons rubbing together as they were pressed up against us, then a few balloons popping. Then it got really quiet, and out of the silence came, “Salve Regina….” As we joined together singing, I was struck by the gaze of Christ. Even among the thousands of other people surrounding me, the Lord found me. And He called my name. He called me deeper. At the time I didn’t know how, or why. Now maybe it was because I was in the middle of a novena to St. Joseph, but I said yes despite uncertainty. And 2020 continued to be full of similar yeses. Yeses where God met me where I was and called me out on the waters with no idea of where they would lead. Had I known some of the things that lied ahead I might of said no, but Jesus doesn’t offer us the knowledge of every detail of what lies ahead. He does however, offer the full knowledge that He will be with us every step of the way. The knowledge of our unity with him in mission is more than enough. For this union with him brings us peace. This is what Joseph sought in his sleep, it was this peace. The peace of Emmanual, which means God is with us. Follow St. Joseph’s example, and chase peace. Do not let yourself settle for comfort, or feeling of happiness, because these surely will fade. Just surrender like you’re about to fall off a boat and there’s nothing to grab on to 😉 (if you get this reference feel free to laugh).
Let me tell you from experience that saying yes does not mean it will be easy, saying yes means you are one step closer to eternity. I think back to being in NYC directly after that SLS conference, and to what happened in Times Square. As I stood the midst of one of the busiest places in the United States, God said “Mikayla, I want you here.” And that’s all he said, he did not say when or how long, and I prayed with it for months, and I really struggled to say yes. Long story short, and through the grace of having the right people come into my life at the right moment, I ended up saying yes to serving in the Bronx with the Seton Teachings Fellows. Most of you reading this, especially if you know me, have heard this all before. But there’s one thing I want you to see, and it’s not me haha. I want you to see Christ looking at you, calling you by name, each and every day. I want you this Christmas to encounter peace. Because God calls each and everyone of us to a very specific mission, in both big ways and little ways. Like St. Joseph we are called to play a specific role so that others can encounter the face of Christ. Your yes is important. Think about if Joseph had said no. What would have happen to Mary? What would have happened to Jesus?
Do not be afraid to say yes to God. Left the greatest gift you receive this year be the gift of his everlasting peace. Like St. John Paul II said, ““I plead with you–never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.” For indeed it is you and it is Christ who wishes to speak to you.
“Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places, like the first Apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of cities, towns and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel It is the time to preach it from the rooftops. Do not be afraid to break out of comfortable and routine modes of living…. It is you who must go…”-St. John Paul II (Homily given to the youth in Denver on August 15th 1993)