Can one word change the world? Yes!

by | Apr 20, 2022 | Formation, Reflections | 1 comment

Today I would like to explore the “annunciation” of the greatest change in human thinking. Mary’s yes changed HER world … and OUR world! That announcement is also a shocking challenge to each of us to let the word become flesh in us… and to love like the word made flesh!

The “man upstairs” … or the “man on the cross”

Mary came from a tradition that looked for a “new Moses.”  They prayed for a leader more powerful than any secular ruler. The Messiah would lead them in “regime change.”

I wonder whether their understanding of God was functionally like our phrase “the man upstairs.”

It was a shock to them when the “man upstairs” turned out to be the “man on the cross!”

Mary’s shock … and living her yes

Mary would have experienced shock at so many levels hearing the announcement that she was to be the mother of the long-awaited Messiah.

At the same time, I suspect that Mary, as the first disciple … and a mother…, began to understand that Jesus was so much more than the Messiah they awaited.

When she was assumed into heaven she would finally fully understand. The Word became flesh to show us how each human being is called to give flesh to God’s all-embracing love by loving brothers and sisters… even giving up our lives for them..

The “man on the cross”

The more I think about it the more I realize the annunciation tells us Jesus came to change my mind, not God’s. He came to show us what it was like to know, think and love like God.

Paul captures so much when he writes…

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block (or scandal) to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Cor 1:22)

The message of the cross is shocking and offensive. It trips us up.

“Passivity” vs. “Putting on the mind of Christ”

The deeper challenge is to truly understand the challenge to change our lives.

“Repent” means changing your way of thinking and having this mind in you that was in Christ Jesus.

Paul challenges us with the implications of what was announced…

“Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.

Rather, he emptied himself taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness and found human in appearance he humbled himself becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. (Ephesians 2).

This is the most difficult challenge to our way of thinking. We can say yes to passively receiving God’s love. But it takes a major change to shift from thinking what’s in it for me… to embodying that limitless love for our God and sisters and brothers.

It’s not about diets and rituals, etc.

It’s about the great reality of loving and personal change!

When we realize that, we will realize how “saying yes” calls for a conversion or change in our way of thinking!

What do I say yes to?

  • Do I say yes only to being loved… or also becoming loving?
  • Do I think of the cross as changing God’s mind or my way of thinking?
  • Where am I on the continuum of changing my mind to living with Christ’s mind?

Originally posted on Vincentian Mindwalk


1 Comment

  1. Sr. Jane Burger

    Great reflection, Fr. John