Scriptures of the day: Micah 5:1-4
Hebrews 10:5-10 Luke 1:39-44
Each of today’s readings set the tone for the great event that is to take place in a few days. They present us with a series of situations and insignificant characters in which God has done wonders. (how hopeful is that for us?) Each one focuses on a different aspect of this awesome mystery, helping us to understand it better and to prepare ourselves for the Birth of Jesus.
I will begin with the first reading from Micah and show how it flows into the beautiful story related in Luke’s gospel.
The Prophet Micah’s message is somewhat dark and foreboding. Although he is chastising the rulers and people of his day because of their evil ways, there is a ray of hope as he tells us that from the obscure town of Bethlehem (not from some other great center of Israel) will come “the one who is to rule over Israel” and “he himself will be peace, shalom”. And even more significantly, he promises that “the new people will live secure and his greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth”. This prophecy is fulfilled when Jesus is born in the same insignificant town of Bethlehem. Perhaps our poor, dark and sometimes empty hearts can invite Jesus to be born there not only on Christmas, but always, despite our apparent unworthiness. Let us pray “come Lord Jesus” and he will transform our lowly hearts into a place of light and holiness because of his presence there.
As we move into Luke’s gospel we see the beautiful scene of young Mary, mother of Jesus, coming to visit and help her cousin Elizabeth, who is also with child in her advanced age. Both of these women will be facing lives of great joy as well as much sorrow; they are “just” women in a patriarchal society but through them salvation comes into the world. If God does such amazing things through the weak and lowly, imagine what God can do through us! Right now all they can think of is being there for each other and caring for each other, as they carry babies that they sense are no ordinary babies. Elizabeth realizes that Mary is blessed with the privilege of carrying the Lord within her, when her own baby danced for joy in her womb at their encounter. Likewise, Mary knows that Elizabeth’s pregnancy must be for a greater reason than either of them know at this point. The Holy Spirit reveals Jesus’ identity to those who believe. God is constantly coming to us in our hearts, minds, actions and each other. Just as Mary played an important role in God’s plan of salvation, we, too, can bring Christ to birth again in our world if we cooperate with God’s grace.
In this season of Advent let us consider Mary’s role in God’s plan of salvation and see how we, too, can bring Christ to birth in our world. Christmas, the birth of Jesus, is the gift of the father to us. What is our gift to God?
Wishing you and yours a happy, love-filled, blessed Christmas and New Year!
By Sister Josita DiVita, F.D.C.