Gospel Reflection for the 4th Sunday of Advent Year C – December 20th 2015
Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy.
A story we know so well. Two women befriending each other at an anxious time. Mary goes to Elizabeth – will they believe us? Mothers of two sons to come. Both in strange situations. The neighbours will take over…. What will they say? Imagine the grapevine of Nazareth and of En Kerem?
SUPPORT AND HELP
In faith we need support and help of each other.
Opinions when they hear I go to Mass? What will they say if I go pro-life? My son is giving up a good job and off to Africa with him for a few years volunteering? What will the neighbours say? It can be lonely to take faith seriously. Among colleagues, or in the family where none of the younger seem to care, in the family where they next generation is not baptised, when people just scoff at our faith in heaven…we need to practise faith together.
Mary and Elizabeth had faith secrets and faith promises and needed each other. We all need visitations in our faith lives.
Faith is personal but not private
No football team practices in its own. So you have the two women. Shepherd come in pairs, and the wise men in threes. We do not go with God or to God on our own. Faith is personal but not private.
Faith shared brings life. The visitation gives an example of faith shared and renewed in prayer.
Mary and Elizabeth – Blessed are you among women.
Donal Neary SJ
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger