Mary set out in those days and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:39-45)
The Christmas to come in 2021 certainly has its coffers full of both light and darkness.
Throughout Advent, we read of John the Baptist prodding us to move inwardly to a greater conversion of soul and body. He wants us to recognize our darkness and our need for light.
In our world, in our souls, the darkness that Christ wants to heal is wherever Christ doesn’t shine. St. John tells us in his Gospel about Jesus, “The light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil” (Jn 3:19). Jesus is coming into the world precisely to bring us into the light.
Christ comes to deliver that light. He does so from the inside, by his own rising. He’s coming into the world so that just as the light of the Sun rises every morning so we can rise with him.
Today’s scripture brings us Mary to show us how to live this life, how to arise and go out to meet Christ in such a way that we begin to journey with him to bring his joy to others as he continues to bound over obstacles for the sake of his lost sheep. Mary is given to us as a special gift to help us to learn how to meet Christ in this way.
I’ve always been moved, in pondering the mystery of the Visitation, by how the Holy Spirit fills St. Elizabeth and gets her to cry out, not “Who am I that my Lord, my Messiah, the eternal Son of God comes to me?” but “Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Her awareness of the presence of her Lord was mediated through the one bringing Him to her.
That same Mother seeks to bring to us that same Son to lead us to a similar joy in rising. And she prays for us to be transformed by that encounter so that when we go to others, they may be able to recognize the presence of the Lord within us, too, and get a glimpse of his light.
Isn’t that the mission of each of us? Are we not called to recognize the presence of the Holy Sprit in each of us? By doing so, we not only make His light burn brighter but we use that light to illume the light of another.
Isn’t that what followers of Christ are supposed to do?
Living in a nation with such a high concentration of Christians, we would expect it be a nation of joy filled people, we would expect it to be a nation where kindness is not occasional but constant, we would expect it to be a nation where compassion and empathy had so worn the roads that we travel that they would glisten with the love that we have for each other.
Is that what we have today? Perhaps it would be if we put down the media, the iPads, the cell phones and listened to our hearts rather than media pundits and politicians who are preaching a gospel of division, disharmony and disunion. But don’t blame them. We have no one to blame but ourselves. We become the fools by allowing them to make us the fools.
Let us begin with but one person. Ourself. Let us move toward this Christmas with a new gait. With a determination that we hold the Christ child as we do one of or own. To surround that child with loving words, with encouraging phrases, with a gratefulness in our lives for his presence and his example. to stand away and apart from those that seek to corrupt us and taint him.
To hold that child so tight to our very self that his light shines through.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and give me joy in seeking you more earnestly. Increase my faith in all your promises, my hope in the joy of heaven, and my love for You as my All.”
The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us to enable us to know and experience the indwelling presence of God and the power of his kingdom. The Holy Spirit is the way in which God reigns within each of us. Do you live in the joy and knowledge of God’s indwelling presence with you through his Holy Spirit?