Passages: 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1; Luke 1:39-56
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit Amen!
Regardless of our education, age or stature, as we grow older we begin looking of work. Not necessarily a career or lifelong commitment, but a job, a title, a position in order to begin creating some kind of profit. One thing is certain that when we go looking for work every boss and employer asks for a resume.
A brief layout of our qualities and qualifications, our abilities, our skills, our education – anything that can show our “worth” as a potential employee. I wonder what would be on our resumes if someone asked us what gives us “worth” in life, what defines us – how would we answer? Would it be short and to the point, or would it be detailed and drawn out, may be exaggerated and fluffed up? What kind of imagine would we present as to who we are and what we have to offer?
In the Gospel today, St. Mary, the Mother of God, while pregnant with Jesus, came to visit Elizabeth her cousin, who was pregnant with John the Baptist. Elizabeth seeing Mary asked, why are you here? What brought you? Mary answers, “‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden…’” (vv. 46-48) Mary very poetically and prayerfully begins to answer by saying I am here, I am called, I am made worthy and I am defined through the Lord who has called me, who has brought me and who has given me worth. Mary, who we know is very young at this time, lays out a unique resume where she does not speak about how she is unique, special or skilled. She does not present an image of “I am special and so God is going to use me.” Rather, she defines herself as special because God is using her. In other words, her resume of faith is a prayer, which plainly would say, I have nothing except that which God has given to me.
My dear brothers and sisters, St. Mary in her beautiful and humble example of prayer teaches us today that our true worth, our true qualities and skills in life, that will yield the greatest profit is not merely words we write on a resume for a job, nor is it title, diplomas, or anything we have achieved here on earth but instead our true value is in the image of God that we are created in. As St. Paul teaches us, we are each temples of the Living God. Just like our Church, it’s real worth, its real quality is not in the paint, icons, organ, robes or even the priest. The real worth of our Church is in the presence of our Living God, Christ Jesus revealed here to us.
Several weeks ago the Turkish government converted the Hagia Sofia, an ancient Byzantine Church, back into a mosque. This past week, they converted another Church into a mosque. And we are pained that our houses of worship, our home is polluted and taken from us. However, the real tragedy is not that we are losing part of our history or artwork – but rather, what we lose is our place where we feel God’s presence. My dears, St. Mary reminds us today, that we must in our heart, mind and soul exult God and know His presence within us. We must recognize God’s presence not just around us but in us and allow that to define us, to direct us, to cleanse us and give us purpose because being a Christian is not about doing good things. An Atheist, Muslim, Jew, etc. can be kind and do good things. If I looked at my resume and the resume of a Jewish rabbi friend, it would be remarkably similar – high school, seminary, public speaking, good with people etc. However, as Christian’s, as temples of God we are called to be different; we are defined not by what we have to offer but by what we do with what has been offered to us.
Christ Jesus, is offered to us every day and week as we pray during the Badarak. Christ Jesus offered up His life willingly for us upon the cross freeing us from the bondage of sin and we receive Christ Jesus through the Holy Eucharist, through our prayers and through repentance. Only having received Christ and being in communion with God, do we become true, pure temples of God where the rest of our skills, our qualities, the physical expressions of being “good” and loving come to fruition in a Christian way. St. Mary accepting what was offer to her she was in communion with God and recognizing her worth in God alone, her soul magnified the Lord – she loved, she forgave, she cared.
My dears, what gives us worth, what defines us and what is written on our resume of faith? Are we in communion with God? Are we temples of God or are we merely trying to write a resume as defined by us? Let us remain prayerful so that we may be cleansed of our egos, our arrogance, our fears, our anxiety and our hardness of heart and may we grow in our prayers – so that we see the image of God and feel His presence not just in life, but in us. May our souls magnify the Lord as we accept what is offered up to us every day and especially during Divine Liturgy. May our resume of faith be filled not with fluff but with the love, compassion, and Words of God. So that we, through our lives will continually bring glory to our Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever, Amen!