4th Sunday of Advent, year’C’ 4e dimanche de l’Avent, année ’C’

“Yes blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
Saturday 19 December 2015

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

4th Sunday of Advent, year ’C’

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

Two women greet one another ; one is getting old, the other is quite young. Both of them resume very well the holy story : behind Elizabeth, long centuries of preparation are outlined, and then the second woman-spotless and shining Mary- announces Jesus’ Church. What they have in common is their hope and maternity and, in this, they are completely committed to God’s Plan.

Elizabeth was sterile, and Mary had decided to remain a virgin. It was the first time in human history that God revealed himself as being so vulnerable.

’When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting she cried out ’You are blessed amongst all women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! How is it that I have the happiness that the mother of my Lord come as far as me?’

Elizabeth knew nothing about Mary’s mystery! Now she understands, she knows that Mary is the Daughter of Sion, bearing within her the Son of the Eternal Father, her Saviour.

We too progress thanks to the Word of God, so as to welcome Jesus in the crib.

In the manger we shall see the Child Jesus, and in the Paschal mystery Jesus will also be celebrated in the Eucharistic Mystery. It is the same mystery for us : Jesus in the manger already announces the Paschal mystery, Jesus takes the bread and wine making of them the gift of His Body and His Blood so that we may become what He is!

Now it happened that 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 my Lord?"

We see two women coming to meet each other face to face –this transcribes the invisible encounter that takes place of the two children in their wombs. Jesus clothes his mother with the dignity of the Queen that she is ; John(the Baptist) awakens his mother to the mystery of God’s works. And to announce to the world that Eve’s unfortunate case is chased away from our memory for ever, the Holy Spirit had wanted that the first dialogue of hope about the world be one between two pregnant women : perfect images of the waiting for happiness.

Like Mary, the Church bears Jesus’ Mystery, giving it to the world by sacramental means.The Church lives endlessly from the reality of the gift of God, like Mary who ’was filled with the Holy Spirit’.

First of all the Holy Spirit enveloped Mary, then, He enveloped Elizabeth and now he envelops God’s Church.

The Church brings to birth new children of God through Baptism. Through the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the Church gives to us Jesus’ Body and Blood, the mystery of the Risen Christ. Through Confirmation the Holy Spirit is given so that we wait for Jesus until He comes again.

Every time that we gather together in a church assembly, hearing the Word of God resound, we are in the image of Mary and Elizabeth who bear within themselves a treasure- this treasure is the presence of the Living God to be communicated to the world.

“Look, 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 we know from the Gospel how Jesus Himself, at the time when a woman raised her voice in the crowd exclaiming ’Blessed is the woman who bore you and nourished you!’ solemnly proclaimed ’You mean the woman who welcomes the word and keeps it!’

This is an essential nuance given by Jesus. This is the Beatitude of all those who have built their life upon God’s Promise.

The Word of God given to us today prepares us for the feast of Christmas. Today, 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. It is she who bears

the mystery of the Living God to the world. God is Love and He reveals His mystery of Love tot his little daughter of Israel! At the very moment God revealed to Mary the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity, He revealed to her the mystery of the human person. When the Holy Spirit covers her with his shadow Mary discovers herself as the little daughter of the Father whose Son she will carry. She discovers the only Son of the Father given to her as her little child. It is first and foremost an experience, not any concepts, even if we need to think about these ’things-events’ so as to enter into the Christmas mystery. Mary carries within her this double mystery of the Trinity and of the Incarnation. She introduced Elizabeth into it and now she has us all enter into the contemplation of this great and wonderful Mystery.

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

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