Gospel Reflection Dec 19 – Msgr. Hendricks
Sunday, December 19
Fourth Sunday of Advent
Lk 1: 39-45
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,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”
The meeting of the Virgin Mary and Elizabeth is recorded for us only in the gospel of Luke. It is a summit meeting if you will, between two women who have been chosen by God to fulfill the prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures, and bring both healing and salvation to the world. Their faithfulness cannot be measured!
Mary and Elizabeth, cousins and friends, meet to confirm their faith in the promises of God to them. Both are women of their day and culture. Both bear the ultimate gift for the world and for their time. Elizabeth had been sterile and could not bear a child. In her culture she was shamed and as the gospel tells us that when she realized, even in her old age that she would bear a child she proclaims that God had removed her reproach from among men.
But Elizabeth who bears a son, John the Baptist, becomes the mother of a strange and forceful prophet. He baptizes a baptism of repentance. Mary also bears a son Jesus, who opens the gates of heaven for all by his birth, his life, and death, and finally in his Resurrection.
The meeting of these two precious women allow the plan of God to take shape and be accomplished in their time and ours. Later in the passage which follows, Mary will proclaim the prayer used in the Church at Vespers, her Magnificat, as she tells the wonderful story of how God acts in all human history and how God acts in ours.
As Christmas draws near this passage from the gospel today sets the stage for the long journey of everyone back to God and the life He has prepared for us.
Prepare your hearts for Christmas by rereading this wonderful gospel of God’s love.