From sterility to fruitfulness
Quite recently I was speaking to a person of very high ideals who was wondering what he could do to help the situation in our land of Trinidad and Tobago. I spoke to him about the possibility of his entering into politics.
Even though he was interested and thought that he could make a contribution in that sphere of life, he was afraid. He thought that the corrupt forces around politics were just too strong. He said to me, “It is difficult not to be tarred with the same brush if you associate with corrupt individuals.”
It is sad but I think that we have lost quite a few good and competent individuals for the very same reasons. They are afraid of the consequences of that choice. In spite of the few signs of hope, we truly live in a period of great barrenness.
We produce few things of worth especially in the spiritual sphere. Indeed the material seems to have taken precedence over the spiritual. Large buildings count more than human development.
As I reflected on the Gospel given to us for our meditation, I remembered that conversation because Mary was faced with a similar situation. It was also a time of great barrenness, nothing worthwhile was appearing on the Jewish landscape. Then God enters into relationship with two apparently barren women, one because she was not married, the other because she had passed the age for childbearing.
From these two situations of sterility, God was able to bring forth persons who would change that situation of spiritual sterility into profound fruitfulness. It all depended on the answers of these two women to God’s request; answers flowing from the faith of these two women who believed that God could change sterility into fruitfulness.
Both of these women placed themselves at the disposition of God. Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
In this time of great barrenness, the word of God is also addressed to us his faithful people. Are we willing to hear what God asks each one of us to bring forth? Listening to God and doing what God asks is the only way in which the world, our country, your family may be saved.
Because of the prevailing atmosphere of sterility, the answer is often similar to that of my friend who in spite of his gifts and talents refuses to enter the political arena. We say no to God’s request and our families, nation and world continues in darkness, in spite of the few glimpses of hope that appear. Today we need many with the faith of Mary and Elizabeth so that the light which will conquer this prevailing darkness appears.
One Teresa of Calcutta is not enough; we need many like her. One John Paul II is not enough; we need many like him. Today, like in the time of Mary and Elizabeth, God asks us. May we have the faith of these two great women so that like them we can say “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
All powerful and ever-loving God, Many of us hear your call but we are afraid. We are afraid of failure and rejection, we are afraid that the voice we hear is of our own imagining. May your angel tell us not to be afraid and reassure us. Give us the grace to make ourselves available so that the salvation you want to give to the world may indeed appear. We ask this through the intercession of Mary our mother, who said “Yes”, and Jesus, the fruit of that “Yes”. Amen.
The Gospel reflections for December are by Archbishop Joseph Harris.