Let us wait in joy for the coming of the Lord…
We are in the fourth Sunday of Advent and reading already spreads the fragrance of Christmas. The first reading from the Book of Micah shares with Isaiah the expectation that God will deliver Israel through a king in the line of David. Bethlehem, an insignificant place in Judea, will bring the ruler. Bethlehem-Ephrathah is the home of the Davidic line. We read in the First Book of Samuel (17:12) “David was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse from Bethlehem in Judah who had eight sons. In the days of Saul, Jesse was old and well on in years.”
In the Gospel, we see great excitement. Two expectant mothers, one young, may be around 16 and the other may be in her fifties. Elizabeth praises Mary and she says, as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. Mary received the great gift and she shares that joy with Elizabeth.
Elizabeth told Mary, “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled (1:45).” We know from Luke (1:20) the disbelief of Zechariah. Mary’s role as believer in the infancy narrative should be seen in connection with the explicit mention of her presence among “those who believed” after the resurrection at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles(Acts 1:14).
Mary travelled the hill country of Judea to share the joy and excitement with Elizabeth. Two courageous women who allowed the will of God to take place in them. Both of the pregnancies had a miraculous aspect. Mary and Elizabeth could understand each other’s joy being a chosen one to bear a special child. Both pregnancies were announced by Angel Gabriel.
We read in the Book of Genesis 3:15 “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers.” That woman is Mary and her offspring is Jesus. God prepared her in an extraordinary way through His Mercy and Grace. Angel said to her, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
In the second reading from the Hebrews we meet the New Adam. Through the first Adam, sin was introduced into the world. So God sent his Son, Jesus, and prepared “a body for him” (Psalm 4:6) to make a most fitting reparation for the sin of Adam. Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross was the purpose of the incarnation.
In the final week of preparation, let's find time to experience the joy and love of Christmas. Christmas is a time for families to get together and celebrate the great blessing, the coming of Jesus. When Mary visited Elizabeth, there was great joy.