Micah 5:1-4a or Romans 8:28-30
Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23 or 1:18-23
"Those whom God predestined God also called." (Ro. 8:30) I was professed as a Passionist in Pittsburgh on this day in 1985. The church was packed with our friends, family, and benefactors. As the priests, provincials, and we eight novices gathered outside to form the procession, I remember the nervous anticipation. Suddenly the opening song "Before the Sun Burned Bright" started. The first verse contains these words: "Before the sun burned bright, or rivers flowed, I called you each by name…" As the procession began, the truth of these words washed over me. A year’s worth of prayer, discernment, confusion, and uncertainty all came together for me in an instant. We had entered sacred time and I felt confirmed in my divine call and destiny as a Passionist.
Recently I preached at a church in Lawrenceville, NJ. The Church of St. Ann is only five miles from Princeton University, which I toured. Perhaps it was the proximity to this venerable Presbyterian University that prompted a question I received from a parishioner: "Is there such a thing as predestination?" Presbyterians, you may recall, have predestination as one of the tenets of their faith. I answered by saying that our Church has always upheld free will and choice. None of our lives are determined; however, God does have a plan for us. We must choose this plan and if we say, "Yes" to God, we can walk in a glorious destiny.
We celebrate a woman who was predestined for greatness. Mary was born and chosen to be the mother of the Messiah. While she was predestined for this great honor, she still had to give her assent and say "Yes" to God. Her fiat set our redemption and salvation into motion. Our "Yes" to God today continues his saving work in and through us.
Fr. Cedric Pisegna, C.P. is a missionary preacher, author of 12 books and creator of the TV program Live with Passion! airing in many cities. You can learn more about his ministry at: http://www.frcedric.org/