As we light the fourth candle of Advent, the Gospel invites us to reflect on the story of Mary visiting Elizabeth. I think this Gospel is spot on to assist us in our final preparation for the coming of Jesus. There is no one better to spend time with (when a child is born) other than his own mother, right?
Little did I know this Gospel passage has a connection to the Old Testament. The hill country of Judea was where exactly David found the ark of the covenant and as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting the unborn John the Baptist leaped for joy in her womb, resembling David’s dance before the ark (2 Sam: 6:14). Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth then responds with gratitude and proclaims Mary as the Mother of God. This wonderful story confirms for us that Mary is the new and final Ark of the Covenant as she brings Jesus into the world.
What also fascinated me is the selflessness of Mary. I believe the purpose of her visit is to help Elizabeth during her pregnancy whom we aware is advanced in years. Having a pregnant wife due in a month, I completely understand the challenge faced by Elizabeth. But, can you imagine what a help it would be having Mary and Jesus on her side?
The same thing goes for us, despite our hectic life, we are called to be selfless. Just like Mary visiting Elizabeth, if you haven’t done so in a while perhaps it is the time to visit your parents, relatives and friends in need. Or if your parents are overseas like me, pick up your phone, call them and spend some quality time.
I’m sure they will appreciate hearing from you again and experience the same joy from this Gospel, which I now can relate to, the feeling when a child leaps in the womb. When my child is a bit quite for some time, it makes me slightly worried, but when I sense those little kicks (or probably a punch) as I lie down my ear on my wife’s tummy, it certainly is a joyous moment!
Mary reminds us how we can find God in ordinary things through this simple story of her visitation and awaiting the birth of her child. Her openness to God’s will, has allowed God’s work of salvation to enter this world. This also radiates through Elizabeth whose response becomes one of our powerful prayers: “Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
Share the joy and Merry Christmas to you and your family!