I remember the day God met me. I was 17. Since then, I always wanted to share my faith and to deepen it. To find the way to be a better disciple of Jesus and how to do it. For I needed to witness to Jesus.
We need witnesses to Jesus in this world. We need people who are able to say who Jesus is and what he has done to each one of us, in our own way.
We need to walk in this new path what Jesus showed us, the way of love, in order to reach people and tell them our stories. A story of joy, of love, of redemption.
But some people would ask “so what? Is that so important really? Talking with people about things of long age?”
Well, if we look at the prophet Isaiah, the time of war and exile was severe on that time. Israel was living into a foreign land, without any particular hope in the future. The Babylonians have destroyed their country, the Temple of Jerusalem is in ruins, and everything is finished. So what? Which story could the Israelites tell at that time?
Exile. Destruction. Despair. These are what the Israelites experienced day after day, in this time Isaiah wrote this story.
But here is the Good News of the Kingdom. GOD NEVER FORGOT HIS PEOPLE.
Looking back to Isaiah, we hear the words of the Lord himself proclaiming and promising that his Kingdom shall come, the end of the agony, and the end of the terror. And this end isn’t only about the exile, this promise of a better tomorrow isn’t restricted to this time of exile Israel endured. No!
This proclamation of the Lord is made for all eternity. A time should come, where everything will be restored to the glory of God. A time will come where all will be saved, all will be happy, all will live in a harmony, safety, in a land where we can belong.
A time should come, my brothers and sisters, where God will no longer remember our past transgressions, a time where he will establish a new covenant with us, with his people Israel. A time where burnt offerings will no longer be required, when trust, love, obedience are the characteristics of this new covenant.
Here is the Good News that Isiah came to proclaim to the people of Israel in exile! A time of freedom, joy and gladness.
But this time, this time didn’t yet happen.
Centuries have past, transgressions after transgressions. War after war. Corruption, destruction, invasion by the Roman Empire. So finally, this promised freedom of God isn’t yet fulfilled. So when? Is that the story of our hope? The story we are called to witness? Promises unaccomplished?
For in our time, a woman came. A woman, young, poor, faithful, obedient will come. My brother and sisters, we know this story. We heard so many times, but let’s hear it in a different way today.
On a time predicted by the prophets, a woman came to life, from the people of Israel, a woman free to love and to follow the call from God. Mary, the little girl of Nazareth, the one we remember today, in the day of her nativity.
Well actually, some of my Protestant friends in France would ask me “why do we need to remember something which isn’t in the bible? Why this birth is so important?”
The day is very important, my brothers and sisters, for Mary is the first witness of the fulfilled promises of God. From her youth, God intended to call her to give birth to Jesus, to become this incredible woman, this great and faithful Disciple who shows us and teaches us the way of Jesus.
The gospel of John testifies us that many Jews, many Gentiles didn’t believe the witness of Jesus about his Father. They had no clue about what he was preaching. For Jesus was different. He didn’t come to talk about himself, but to give witness to his Father.
God is not lonely. God is Father, Son & Holy Spirit. The Father sent his Son, in order to show us his love and fulfil all the promises he made to our ancestors, says Mary in her Magnificat. The Holy Spirit came later, in order to ascribe into the hearts of all who kept Jesus’ words the truth of who he is. The Messiah, the Son God, the promised King of Israel who came to establish a new reign, a new reality where there’s no more violence, no more hatred, no more war, no more destruction, where all the races of the earth live in harmony and good concord.
This is the witness of Mary, this is what she proclaims in her song. The Lord our God cares for the poor, the lonely, and the oppressed. Those people are precious in God’s sight, and they have to be for us all. Why? For God is love, and his love reaches all the earth, every hearts, every nation. No one can escape. Not even Satan, at the end of time.
My brothers and sisters, we need witnesses of Jesus Christ. We need to be reminded of his promises, for they have been fulfilled. These promises aren’t empty political speech, neither marketing propaganda for a new kind of religion.
This is God’s dream for this world. A world living the promises of God for everyone, a place in this world where everyone is welcomed, loved, listened.
And now, the big question is: ok Nicolas, you talk about wonderful things. God is love. Mary is the first and greatest of all disciples, and we should bear witness to Jesus. But how? Should we do like the Jehovah witness, knocking to everyone’s door?
Well, I won’t suggest you to do so this afternoon for sure. But perhaps we could start to wonder into our hearts “Which is my story? What is that story so powerful that I want to share with others?”
As deep and incredible the Scriptures are, our living God became human, in order to gather to himself everyone on the earth. everyone. But we cannot wait for other people to say “well, I think I’m gonna buy a bible today and start reading it”. It could be wonderful, don’t you think? But it’s not the case. This is why we need to share that message, to preach the love of Christ we received and rejoice doing so.
Jesus commissioned us, not just the clergy, but the whole people of God, to share that story of death, of resurrection, of unselfish, redeeming, sacrificial love. This is our mission, but first of all, it’s God’s mission. Which means don’t worry! God is at work within us. He will show us the way, as he did with Mary.
We need to trust the words of Mary, when she tells us that God’s love is everlasting. We need to look at her example of faith and live, how she powerfully welcomed the singular and particular grace of God for her life. As Isaiah and all the prophets, Mary answered to the call of God by a great YES, not without fear and doubt, but she decided to trust God.
Trust is at the very centre of her example. In doing so, she brought the author of life himself into our world, into our reality, our daily basis.
Thanks to her, God came deeply into our lives and never ceased to be part of our lives, in all the good and bad moments. For God is merciful, says Mary.
Trust in God. Go. Share your story. Share this Christ risen from the dead, this Messiah who’s so in love for the world that he gave his life for us all.
When you tell your story, when you meet the story of someone else, then a new story is made, in which God’s own story can be found.
Christ has no body now, but yours, no hands, not feet on earth, but yours, says Teresa of Avila.
Tell the story of your hearts and be thankful.
Like Mary, Trust.
My brothers and sisters, God love you. God bless you. Keep the faith. May God hold us all into his almighty hands of love.