Jesus concludes his instruction today (Matthew 5:33-37) with the direction to make our "Yes" mean yes, and our "No" mean no. Of course after just hearing the Beatitudes we are being summoned to living a faith-filled and committed life based in truth and faith. To be sure when Mary gives her unconditional Yes, it is based on a foundation of God's faithfulness. She does not fully understand all that will be required of her, or how her life will be different. She only knows that God has been faithful from one generation to the next.
I love the series Jesus Freaks, by DC Talk. This is a compilation of stories of trues martyrs, and other men and women who have suffered as they professed and lived their faith. One might wonder why they did not simple follow the program and avoid all of the hardships and difficulties they endured. Well for them they had said "Yes" at Baptism, Confirmation, and each time they participated in the Eucharist. Faith is not lived in secret or the privacy of one's home. These folks understood that faith is lived as a public expression of love and charity, all the while standing for what is right and good. And sometimes that means standing out against Sin and Evil.
The Church once again is inviting all Catholics to express the awareness and appreciation of Religious Liberty. We have been invited to pray and fast as we acknowledge our concern over the threats to Religious Freedom. Some might smirk imagining solders with guns not allowing us to go to Mass. In reality religious oppression is much more subtle than that. This exercise though might help us to reflect upon what we say 'Yes' to each time we receive the Eucharist, or pray, or bring a child to baptism.
I like telling the story of a gentlemen who had expressed that he did not need the sacrament of reconciliation. "I haven't murdered anyone Father." If murder is the standard of sin which we judge or life, then we might want to look again at the values which we find in Sacred Scripture. When we receive the Body of Christ at Mass, and pray throughout the day, we are reaffirming a relationship we have with God in faith. We make that strong in our commitment to the truth bestowed by Christ.