3rd Week of Advent (21st December, 2018)
First Reading: Song 2: 8-14 (Zeph 3: 14-18a) (Arise, my love)
Gospel: Lk 1: 39-45 (Blessed is the fruit of your womb)
Throughout the Bible, we see that when God chooses some as His favourite, that person of God’s choice has the mission of spreading God’s grace and love bestowed upon him or her. This is true of the prophets and others in Old Testament as well as the disciples and other persons in the New Testament too.
Today’s Gospel on vitiation of Mary to Elizabeth becomes an example for sharing of God’s grace and love to us. Mary, as soon as, is told that her cousins is now pregnant and therefore has been found favourable in the sight of God, goes in haste to serve her. This is the first quality of a true disciple or chosen instrument of God. His servants are never there as mute spectators or passive on lookers. Once filled with God’s grace, they become His active servants and this is true in the case of Mother Mary too. She goes in haste to serve her. We know in other instances of the Gospel that Jesus’ disciples too were set out to fulfil the commands of Jesus, to heal, to preach or to serve etc. and their vocation is to be fulfilled even without expecting anything in return for we are only doing what we have been called for (Lk 7: 10). For the Lord, our Master will give us the reward for our acts of service and love (Mt 6: 3).
Secondly Mary becomes symbol of true happiness and joy that comes from the hands of God. Usually when we receive some good news about what has happened in our life, we have natural tendency to share with others. We hen se share so, the listeners may or may not get affected at all. They too may become happy or just hear what we say or tell but in today’s gospel we find that from the moment of Mary’s arrival in Elizabeth’s house, there is total transformation in her. Her house is filled with joy and happiness. On seeing her itself, she exclaims saying, “Blessed are you among woman and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Lk 1: 42). Not only has she, the babe in her womb too leaped with joy. This is a natural reaction when the true messenger of God arrives at our place or when we as the true messenger of God, reach to others. There will be natural reaction of joy and happiness. In today’s Gospel, both the guest and the host, being true messengers of God recognise the great work God has accomplished in them. Yes, they bear symbols of God’s presence. When we are filled with God’s grace, our duty too is to carry God’s joy and peace as the Lord commanded His disciples to do saying, “Whenever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house’” (Lk 10: 5). In and through Mary and Elizabeth, we need to recognise God’ presence in other and dispose ourselves to God’s plan in such a way to become signs of God’s presence ourselves too. Amen.