Third Friday in Advent - December 21st
This Gospel reading describes an encounter between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth. Luke stresses Mary’s hurried travels to the town of Judah where her cousin lives. It is more than 100 kilometers from Nazareth to this mountain area. It was an arduous journey, especially for a pregnant woman. Yet Mary responded quickly and begins her journey to see what the angel had told her. What is the significance of Mary's visit to her cousin Elizabeth before the birth of Jesus?
During their greeting and encounter, the cousins discover in each other a mystery that they did not yet know. This new knowledge fills each of them with great joy. How often does it happen in our lives when we meet people whom we know but who surprise us? Do we recognize the indwelling presence of God in these life moments?
Elizabeth, “filled with the Holy Spirit”, recognizes the unique blessedness of Mary (blessed are you among women) because of the child she bears (blessed is the child you will bear). This sets the tone and mood of the passage and the encounter. Luke is urging his audience and us to have the same attitude as Elizabeth. One of JOY!! Luke calls us to share with joy in the events associated with Jesus. And Luke through Elizabeth proclaims what a joy it is to share life with Him. This passage begs the question, what is the source of the joy of both women? What is our source of joy?
During this advent season let us pray: "Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit and give me joy in seeking you more closely.”
Joyce A. Zavarich
Center for Pastoral Ministry Education and Internship