SUNDAY 4TH ADVENT YEAR C
Today’s readings remind us that Jesus is reborn every day in ordinary people living ordinary lives, who have the willingness to respond to God’s call and the openness to do God’s will. They suggest that Christmas should inspire us to carry out God’s word as Mary and Jesus did, in perfect obedience to His will, in cheerful kindness and unselfish generosity.
In the first reading, the prophet Micah gives assurance to the Jews that God is faithful to His promises and that from the unimportant village of Bethlehem He will send them the long-expected ruler. The second reading, reminds us to be thankful to Jesus Christ who offered the perfect sacrifice of obedience that liberated us from sin. By his willingness and eagerness to do God’s will, (“Behold, I come to do your will”), Christ gave Himself in the place of all the other ritual sacrifices offered as the means of sanctification. In the Gospel Mary, the Mother of Jesus teaches us how to accept the Lord when he comes. There is joy in the encounter, Mary and Elizabeth encounter each other. It is not simply a meeting together. In their encounter, an exchange takes place, a mutual understanding a meeting between two persons. Both of them did not think of themselves as the most important people. Rather they praised God, Elizabeth praises Mary, Mary praises God. Both of them sing His greatness and mercy.
We too meet various persons in our life. Sometime they wait for us. There are people who do not need our money and goods but just our love and friendship. Our nearness can at times bring solace and healing to them. The more we give ourselves to others, the more we receive in return. The more we make others happy, the more we ourselves rejoice.
Perhaps this is the time given to us to come to understand our true selves, to turn towards God, and open our hearts and show generosity to others. Then we too will experience the thrill of the encounter with God and with one another. Only such an encounter can usher in true peace about which the prophet Micah spoke. Peace without reserve and without imitations springs from truth, benevolence and justice.
We need to carry Jesus to others as Mary did. We can make a real difference in the lives of others by carrying Jesus to them. However, we cannot give what we do not possess. Christmas is the ideal time for us to be filled with the spirit of Christ, allowing his rebirth within us. Thus, he enables us to share his love with all whom we encounter by offering them humble and committed service, unconditional forgiveness and compassionate caring.
The Visitation of Mary reminds us that, through his holy ministry, Christ continues to be present among his people. The same Christ “dwells among us” in the Bible, in the Sacraments, and in the praying community. What is expected of us during this Christmas week is the readiness to say “Yes!” to the Father, “Yes!” to Jesus, “Yes!” to all that we will experience in the coming year and “Yes!” to every call that God makes and will make on us.
Mary’s pilgrimage should be our model: As we journey with Mary to the hill country, let us continue to contemplate our own life’s journey — its joys and sorrows, its triumphs and its tragedies. Our Christian journey began in Christ at the Baptismal font where He joined Himself to us forever. Our journey continues with Christ as he nourishes us along the way with the food of his Word and the food of his Flesh. We were loved into being, and the One who sustains us each day will in the end give us fullness of life. As well as the birth of Jesus, at Christmas we celebrate our own birth also — birth into a life in this world that flows towards final resurrection.