In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
In today’s final Advent readings, the prophet Micah invites us to consider how God offers us the gifts of deep down peace and steadfast love through the life and purpose, the forgiveness and resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah. We also travel with Mary as she rushes off to share the news of her pregnancy with her cousin Elizabeth—Mary on the road, her life changed forever.
Later Mary and Joseph will also hit the road . . . this time that familiar road from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Long before airplane baggage limits, Mary and Joseph had to decide what to take with them and what to leave behind.
Now in 2012 all of us make our own way towards Bethlehem . . . with a pertinent question to consider: what might you and I need to risk leaving behind as we make our personal “journey to Bethlehem”? Perhaps I can finally leave behind some festering dislike for a neighbor or co-worker or family member. Perhaps we can leave all the financial worry and personal frustration we put upon ourselves. Perhaps there is some personal sinfulness that saps my energy and darkens our love. Whatever it might be, can we leave behind this personal “junk” as we prepare to approach the crib in just 2 days
For all of us, the time is here; the miracle is now. With the strength we receive in relationship with one another and with our God, may we go forward to meet Jesus Christ this Christmas —steadfast in faith, joyful in hope, untiring in love!
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Lord, let us simply rest in the miracle of your ever abiding presence in our life. Increase our faith that we can more fully grasp the reality of your birth to a young girl whose “yes” opened everlasting purpose and life to all of us. If we begin to feel overwhelmed by Christmas responsibilities, halt our hectic pace. And for a few focused minutes let us join the gathering in the stable and regain our sense of your awesome gift to us and to all we love so very much.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!