4th Sunday of Advent 4e dimanche de l’Avent

“Blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
Tuesday 17 March 2015 — Latest update Friday 20 November 2015

Mt. 5,1-4a Ps.79 He.10,5-10 Lk.1,39-45

4th Sunday of Advent

“Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could into the hill country to a town in Judaea. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.”

Two women greet each other : one is getting old and the other is very young. It is to these two women that the Holy History of Salvation is resumed. : behind Elizabeth rises up long centuries of preparation, and Mary, shining, faultless and pure, announces the Church of Jesus. They have their hope and their maternity in common, and in this, they are fully committed to God’s Plan. Elizabeth was sterile, and Mary had decided to remain a virgin. It is the first time in history where God is revealed to be so vulnerable. ’When Elisabeth heard Mary’s greeting!’ she cries out ’You are blessed amongst all women and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus! How is it that I have the happiness of the mother of my Lord coming to me?’

Elizabeth knew nothing about the mystery of Mary! She has now understood she knows that Mary is the daughter of Sion, the one who bears within her the Son of the Eternal Father, her Saviour. We too progress thanks to the Word of God as we make our way towards welcoming Jesus in the manger. We know that the manger manifests the Child Jesus, it will be celebrated in the paschal mystery, in the Eucharistic mystery. It is the same mystery for us : Jesus, swaddled in the manger, already announces the Paschal Mystery; Jesus takes the bread and wine and makes of it the gift of his Body and his Blood so that we become what he is!

“Now it happened that as soon as Mary heard Elizabeth’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.She gave a loud cry and said ’ Blessed are you amongst all women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus! why should I be honoured with a visit from my Lord?”

The face to face of these mothers can only transcribe the invisible encounter of these two children. Jesu clothes his mother with the dignity of a queen ; John awakens his mother to the welcome of the mystery of God’s works. And so to announce to the world that Eve’s unhappiness is forever chased away from

memory, the Holy Spirit wanted that the first dialogue on hope would be one between two pregnant women : perfect images of the wait for happiness.

Like Mary, the Church bears the mystery of Jesus, giving him to the world in a sacramental way. For her it is the reality of the gift of God lived out that will go on and on forever more, as “Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit”. The Holy Spirit, who at first had enveloped Mary, envelops Elizabeth and now the Church of God. Through Baptism, the Church brings to birth new children of God. Through the sacrament of the Eucharist, it gives to her the Body and Blood of Jesus, the mystery of the life of the Risen Christ. Through Confirmation, she has us be born to the Holy Spirit so that we wait for Jesus, until He comes again. Each time we are gathered together in Church and the Good News cries forth, we are in the image of Mary and Elizabeth.These women carry within them a treasure, the presence of the Living God, bringing it to the world.

“For behold, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

Mary’s beatitude is rooted in faith , and Jesus himself solemnly declares, when , the day in a crowd a woman shouts out saying ’Blessed is the woman who bore you and fed you!’ The answer Jesus gives brings about an essential nuance : ’ You mean : the woman who welcomes the Word and keeps it! ’This is the Beatitude of all those who build their lives on God’s promise.

Today’s Words help us prepare for Chrsitmas.On this day the Word reveals to us how Mary reveals Jesus, and how she gives him to Elizabeth. Mary is the most beautiful face of the Church. She was the one who bore the mystery of God living in the world. God who is Love, revealed his mystery of Love to this little daughter of Israel! At the same time as God manifested the mystery of the Blessed Trinity to Mary, he reveals to her the mystery of the human person. When the Holy Spirit covers her with His Spirit, Mary discovers herself as the little daughter of the Father, whose Son she is going to bear. She makes the discovery that the Only Son of the Father is given to her as her little child. It is first and foremost an experience, they are not concepts, even if we need to reflect upon these ’things-events’, to enable us to enter into the Mystery of Christmas. Mary bears within herself this double mystery of the Trinity, of the Incarnation, and she has Elizabeth enter in there and now she has each one of us enter into the contemplation of this mystery.

We ask for the grace to be renewed in our faith, in our hope and in our Love.