In February, I traveled to St. Louis, Missouri with 6 other missionaries to meet and pray with the community there about the future of Life Teen Missions. It was a blessed road trip with many laughs and glory stories along the way. While there, we visited the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, the St. Louis Arch, and Incarnate Word Parish in Chesterfield, meeting a variety of people who would be involved with the future of missions there. One of the most impactful parts of the mission for me was meeting and praying with area families on Saturday night’s Mission Night
While Mission Nights are a regular part of the Atlanta team’s schedule, this was a first for all of us. We prepared food all afternoon for the fifteen or so couples and families that would enter the Allgeyer house that evening with little or no previous encounter with Life Teen Missions. I felt a little pressure being one of the seven who would represent both the face and future of Life Teen Missions, but once the evening started, it was very clear the Holy Spirit was present and in charge.
The night began with praise and worship led by Adam, the music minister at Incarnate Word parish. The last song he played started with a little introduction and story from his own experience on mission in Nicaragua. While there, he was overcome by the situations the people of Nicaragua face daily and the circumstances that had brought him to be the one to witness it and minister to the people. He asked a teen, “Why me?” and in a moment of innocent wisdom the teen said, “Because you said yes.” Adam wrote a song about how all of us are called to say yes, in whatever small or imperfect way we can.
The song itself was simple, and I didn’t realize how powerful it was until the second reading at Mass on Sunday. We read from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians that Jesus was not ‘Yes’ and ‘No,’ but in Him it is always ‘yes.’ He goes on to say that “in Him every one of God’s promises is a ‘Yes’” (2 Cor. 1:20). As I thought about the history of our Church, I recalled each of the necessary “yes’s” from Abraham’s yes to sacrifice his only son to David’s yes to stand up and defend Israel when others were afraid to. Mary gave an incredibly difficult yes in choosing to carry Jesus in her womb as a young, un-wed woman, and even Jesus Christ himself said yes to a punishment He did not deserve, in order to save us from death. In each of those situations, God’s promise was fulfilled through a yes.
Sometimes I am fooled to believe we have a Church of “no” and “thou shall not.” Even as we enter Lent, it seems like it, as it is again time to say no to sweets and soft drinks. In reality, we have a Church and a faith that frees us to say yes, so that God’s promises would be fulfilled. Maybe this Lent we can say yes to something new. We can say yes to helping our parents more or yes to praying a decade of the rosary each morning, knowing that God fulfills promises in a simple yes.
When Jonah said no he was swallowed by a great fish, and when he said yes a city of 120,000 repented and converted. What does God want to do with your yes today?