“Blessed are you who believed ...”
Reflections on the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent (December 23, 2018): MI 5:1-4; PS 80:2-3,15-16,18-19; HEB 10:5-10; LK 1:39-45
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
When Mary heard the angel Gabriel announce that she was to be bear the Son of the Most High she must have be startled and confused.
Yet she reacts with total faith, declaring herself the handmaid of the Lord. The angel also tells her that nothing is impossible for God and that her relative Elizabeth has conceived in her old age. Then, with the same all-encompassing faith, the Blessed Virgin rushes to visit Elizabeth. “Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb” (Luke 1:39-41). Two women, two mothers, one young, one old, but both are joined not only by kinship but also by fidelity to the will of the Almighty.
In the presence of Jesus in Mary’s womb, John, in the womb of his mother, is freed from original sin. His whole life is committed to preparing his people for the arrival of the Messiah. But at this moment we hear about in today’s Gospel reading, we watch and listen as Mary and Elizabeth share their mutual love and support. Clearly, they only know a little of what life has in store for them and their sons. Yet over the next few months they must have wondered and prayed and looked after each other. And above all, they trusted, always trusted, their Father in heaven. They knew He would provide for them, just as He would provide for the whole world. The Son of God is about to be born and everything everywhere will change forever.
Suggested missionary action: As we finish wrapping our presents for loved ones, we can offer the gift of a grateful heart to the Holy Infant. And we can give material help to a child or family in our community in need this Christmas.
Celebrate Advent with the missions of the Church. Visit MISSIO.org.