A HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT – CYCLE “C” – 12/23/18 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
Have you ever experienced an occasion, when you and someone else both experienced something really great, at the same time? It’s like double the great! It can happen in a lot of different ways. Maybe you and one of your siblings get engaged on the same Christmas! Or maybe you and one of your close friends both receive promotions at work, on the same day. Or maybe you and your best friend find out that you’re going t have babies at the same time. It’s double the excitement and double the great joy! You get together to celebrate the good news, and you happy for the other person, and of course, you’re also happy for yourself! There’s a lot of rejoicing going on!
We come together today as we begin this very brief Fourth Week of Advent, and that’s exactly the scene, as we hear the story of the Visitation. Mary has been told incredible news by the Archangel Gabriel. She is going to have a baby, and she is a virgin. And her kinswoman, Elizabeth, who is much, much older than Mary, has also been told that she, too, is going to have a baby. Now, most likely, neither one of these women have any real understanding of what God is doing with them. But they both know, this is not the way things work normally. Mary and Elizabeth are excited. They know that God has done this. And that somehow, some way, God is going to use both of them, and their babies, for something very special. Mary travels in haste to see Elizabeth and share with her the Good News. Elizabeth, who is no condition to travel, but is just as excited to see Mary, and to share with her, what God has done for her. And so, this encounter between these two very special women, just before John and Jesus are born, becomes a celebration of rejoicing! Mary tells Elizabeth, and Elizabeth tells Mary, and we’ve got John the Baptist leaping inside Elizabeth’s womb. These women should not be “with child”. Mary and Elizabeth know how things work. They know God has intervened! Elizabeth had been praying for a child her entire adult life. It was a source of heart-break for her and Zechariah that they were never able to have children. Now, as an older woman, she rejoices with awe and amazement at what God has done! Mary too knows that her situation has nothing to do with her and Joseph. God has done this! These women trust, and believe, and they meet each other as expectant mothers for the first time in person, they rejoice!
Today, as we are in our final hours of preparation for Christmas, Mary and Elizabeth have much to teach all of us. Today we rejoice in excitement and expectation! Just like for Mary and Elizabeth, it is not always going to be easy. In fact, for both of these women, many would have considered their “news” not as good news, but as great messes! Mary and Elizabeth are both having what many today would call “crisis pregnancies”. But that’s not the way that Mary and Elizabeth see their situations. This has to make us wonder, how many times, are our crisis’s, really just incredible blessings from God, that we don’t understand. Mary and Elizabeth had faith! These babies were not some tragic situation that they had to endure. Mary and Elizabeth were blessed and chosen by God. And they knew it.
Today we need to allow Jesus to continue to work in our lives, just as He did in the lives of Mary and Elizabeth. The work of our Lord that was begun when He was born in a manger, continued to happen as our God worked through a very small town, a humble young virgin, an older women who was presumed to be sterile, and even a tiny baby. There is nothing too small or insignificant to be used by God for His greatness and glory!
This Great God, Who created a vast universe virtually out of nothing, can also do incredible things in our lives, even today, even through our limited resources, time, and talents. In good times and in the toughest of times, our God can do some amazing things, with the smallest and simplest of resources!
Let us pray for obedient hearts, that we might always strive to know God’s will in our lives and to follow that will. Let us pray that like Elizabeth, we might be enlightened by the Holy Spirit to see God at work in unexpected places and people. May we at all times, throughout every moment of our lives, allow Jesus to do the will of God through uss, in whatever big or small way He chooses!
+ May God make us ready for Christmas, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!