In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
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
We are all pregnant with Christ. Every day we have the opportunity to participate in bringing God’s love into the world. We can let that love grow in us and offer it to each person we encounter. When we nurture and share that love, we can say with Mary, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”
This means that we are constantly in the role of Elizabeth as well. Every person we meet is carrying Christ within them. Do we respond as Elizabeth did? Are we filled with joy when we encounter the people on the street, at work, or in our home? Do we speak words of affirmation and gratitude for their goodness?
Today, as we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and continue our Advent preparation for the birth of Christ, we experience this wonderful scene between Elizabeth and Mary. Their overwhelming joy and love both encourage and challenge us to be more like them.
How are you allowing Christ’s love to grow in you? How are you responding joyfully to the people around you?
—Thomas Bambrick, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic in First Studies, studying philosophy at Fordham University, New York.
Note: Yesterday Pope Francis was named as TIME magazine’s Person of the Year (read more on our website). Here are lines from Pope Francis’ Wednesday Angelus address, given in preparation for today’s feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe:
Mary’s embrace showed what America—North and South—is called to be: a land where very different peoples come together; a land prepared to accept human life at every stage, from the mother’s womb to old age; a land which welcomes immigrants, and the poor and marginalized, in every age. A land of generosity….May the joy of the gospel be always in your hearts, and may Our Lady be ever at your side.”
O Lady of Guadalupe, they’ve come to sing in your honor from desert and forest. From valleys deep in the mountains they make a joyful chorus.
They dance to show they love you, out of faith and deep emotion. They offer flowers and candles as a sign of their devotion.
O Mother dark and lovely, hear the poor who come with their song. Lead them into Jesus’ kingdom where truly they do belong.—Willard F. Jabusch Please share the Good Word with your friends!