The Power of the Word Yes!
The definition of the word Yes, “[is] used to give an affirmative response” (Oxford Dictionary). In all of Christendom, the term Yes is used many times over to accept God’s plan and to do His will on Earth. Throughout history, people have said Yes to accept God’s plan, to submit to his will, whether they are comfortable with it or not.
Yes is one of the smallest words in the English language but its meaning can speak to centuries of faith. Consider the people that helped build our Christian faith. Abraham said Yes and left his homeland to become a father in his old age. Moses said Yes to lead a people he did not know. It was because of Mary’s Yes that Christ’s incarnation began. It is the martyr’s Yes to accept death, rather than deny Christ, that gives us the strength as a Church. It was the saints’ Yes that made them worthy before God. Ultimately it is Jesus Christ who “is the yes to all the promises made to Israel” (Bishop Robert Barron, 2018). Christ is also the Yes of hope in a world of despair. Christ said Yes to the cross when he didn’t have to, he said Yes to torture and humiliation all for our sake. When we are down and in our own pain, it is because of Christ’s Yes that we can turn to Christ to be our doctor, to be our defense against the scary things in this world and that he continually responds with that Yes.
Life gives us countless opportunities to say yes or no; depending on the circumstances and the people we might affect. But sometimes we get thrown into the moment and realize that the answer we give comes with many unforeseen difficulties that we must deal with. It is especially difficult when God asks us to do something we don’t want to do. When God calls us to speak the truth even though we may be ridiculed, it can hinder our ability to give a quick Yes. When God calls us to serve him as a priest, a brother, nun or as a parent, we hesitate and look at what material things we will leave behind. Even though we may want to say no, to stay on our couch, we must accept and say yes. We may question or not fully understand or know the outcome of a situation, but when God is on our side, we know that we will be fine. That’s how all the saints achieved greatness; they said yes, regardless of the consequence, because God was asking.
I still recall all the times I wish I said Yes. In truth, we often want to go back in time and change the moments when we denied Jesus and change it to say Yes. But while we can’t turn back time, we can always turn our lives toward Jesus. Jesus changed lives all the time. When people wanted to change their lives, Jesus always said Yes! God wants us to change our lives so that we can see his greatest gift, Heaven. Heaven is the ultimate gift to us humans as we march along on this journey towards salvation. Towards the place and the time when God will ask us, “do you love me, and have you loved your brothers and sisters?” And we answer with an accumulating word, that is the same word that has been used throughout history: the great “Yes!”
A few questions for personal reflection: How many times have we said Yes to everything else in this world, and said No to God? Why do we choose ourselves over the divine will of God? Is it because we think our plan is better for ourselves than God’s? To what end will we keep doing this? We will disobey God until we feel the pain and loneliness we so desperately try and avoid by following our plan? We must change our no’s, to say Yes, to say Yes to God and his plan, to say Yes to his Church, and to say Yes to loving each single person.