The fourth week of Advent is “short-circuited”, with only the duration of hours, are in full current flow of Christmas. Certainly, it requires extra attention to be able to concentrate ourselves still on Advent message when we have our feet already in the ambiance of Christmas. Anyway, Advent and Christmas are not opposed, so let’s make a good use of these few remaining hours of Advent to do the necessary final touches. There we go!
Bible Readings Micah 5: 1–4 Psalm 80: 2–3, 15–16, 18–19 Hebrews 10: 5–10 Luke 1: 39–44
God who remembers
A philosopher will shudder, and most probably reframe the sentence before lancing onto me cynical question: so, your God can forget? Anyway, I remind the philosopher, it’s my liberty to speak of God in the manner that I relate to him. So, yes, I believe in the God who remembers -in fact, he remembers because he doesn’t forget. Not only does God remain to true his promises, he is also attentive to the little ones whom the world often abandons into namelessness. To him no one is too small to go unnoticed, especially those who look up to him with confidence. That’s why we await his coming with an undistracted attention.
“As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes are on the Lord our God until He shows us mercy” (Ps 123:2).
In short, ours is a God on whom we can count -the first reading confirms it.
“The Lord says this: But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.”
Look, Cousin, He has remembered us!
What’s your feeling as you read this post? What’s going on in your life? Feeling like a failure? Feeling abandoned? Feeling lost in the crowed? You are not the first, or the last, to feel that way. Besides, you are not condemned to continue feeling that way. Things have changed in other people’s lives; they can change for you too. Do you believe?
Just imagine what may have been the feeling of Elizabeth; married as a young girl, especially to a man, Zacharia, who performs sacred duties in the temple -and yet, the youthful days of this couple slip away in the anguish of an unending longing for a child. No doubt, she just couldn’t help feeling forgotten and abandoned. But was she? What’s sure is that the little John didn’t come at the time this couple expected him. Anyway, we now know, with Mary through angel Gabriel, that Elizabeth is in her sixth month of pregnancy. Wow! Holy is His Name!
Well, then, no matter how sluggish, in your judgement, things may seem to be just know one thing; the God we believe in is a God who remembers. He has not forgotten about you; you are on the palms of his hands (cf. Is 49:16).
When nothing seems to be happening
Then, we have a young girl called Mary -she is not known as Blessed among all women or as mother of God yet; she is just an ordinary girl. The only thing she is looking forward to is the fulfilment of the promise of marriage with Joseph -but what’s so special about that? Certainly, there we other girls who were engaged to some important men of their society. That’s why it should be a “shocking” news when the angel Gabriel announces that message never-heard-before. This ordinary girl will be the mother of the son of God. As if that is not enough, even her cousin, Elizabeth, long time beyond conceiving age, is also waiting for a child. Wow! God remembers! But that’s too much for a young girl to digest it alone.
Immediately, Mary hurries to the hilly country of Judea where lives Elizabeth, her cousin. I can imagine Mary embraces Elizabeth vividly, gazing her right in the eyes and say to her: cousin, He has remembered us! Naturally, it’s a song of gratitude that dominates the airwaves.
The Gospel doesn’t go that far, but we know, it’s at this moment when Mary’s joy bursts into a song. Even if she may not have been the composer, even if it may have been sheer initiative of the evangelist; nevertheless, one thing is clear: the canticle suits the occasion, especially as it expresses what these two ladies have lived. Mary evokes God who not only remembers the little ones, but he raises them too.
Hey, are you still feeling like a little girl of no name, and nothing seems to be promising for your future? Well, the God we believe in is a God who not only remembers but also transforms what’s ordinary into something marvellous. Your life might just be one!
A visit that uplifts, advent gesture
When Mary arrives, the little John leaps for joy in the womb and his mother too exults: “Why has this happened to me, that the mother of Lord comes to me?” Obviously, Mary’s presence diffuses rays of life, peace and joy in this home that has been arid of the baby’s cry.
I just wonder, in my relationships, what kind of rays I diffuse. Have you ever asked yourself the question?
Our old Elizabeths and little Marys
Needless to say, as we get close to Christmas we think of the birth of the baby Jesus. But that shouldn’t be an excuse for us to remain detached from the reality around us. Around us there are several Elizabeths with diminished energy -our sympathetic attention and help will do them good; around us there are also little Marys, not only quite young for the responsibility of a mother but perhaps also lacking the basic necessities -our little gesture of charity will encourage and assure them. Indeed, our kind thoughts and actions for these Elizabeths and Marys would be our best final touches to our Christmas preparations.
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