Reflection 12-19-21

First Reading: Micah 5:1-4a
Second Reading: Hebrews 10:5-10
Gospel: Luke 1:39-45

Today’s gospel provides the Scriptural basis for the 2nd Joyous Mystery of the rosary, the Visitation.

Mary was the first bearer of Jesus to others. This was more than a simple visit to her cousin Elizabeth. Mary greatly desired to bring Jesus to her. Mary continues to give Jesus to whoever desires Him. We must be prepared to receive Jesus.

Mary will not bring Jesus to a soul, where Jesus will not be Lord.

Sacred Tradition tells us that the Holy Spirit sanctified John in the womb of Elizabeth. John received all the graces necessary for him to prepare to be: “A voice of one crying out in the desert: Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” (as Isaiah prophesied)

The Light also shined on Elizabeth, and she knew that Mary was carrying Jesus in her womb. We too must be the bearer of Jesus, making Him known, sharing His love. When the Will of God reigns in our soul, we too will have an irresistible need to give Jesus to everyone! We cry out: “Behold, I come to do your will.” (from today’s 2nd reading, Letter to the Hebrews). This was the cry of Jesus, to do the Will of His heavenly Father.

This is what Advent is all about, preparing to receive Jesus into our heart, our mind and our soul. When we encounter Jesus, our life can’t be the same! Think about the many people in the gospels that encountered Jesus and were radically changed – not only physically but spiritually as well. So, how come some people were not changed when they encountered Jesus? The answer perhaps is in that they were not prepared. Some had preconceived notions of who and what the Messiah should be.

We must be prepared for every encounter we have with Jesus Christ: in the Word, in prayer, in the sacraments, in our worship and especially in our acts of service!

Think about some of the things you do almost automatically, for example: driving a car, walking, typing etc. – it took a long time to get to a point where you can do these things without thinking. If you have ever had a leg or knee injury or surgery, you very well know that you “had to learn to walk again”. This can be especially difficult for an elderly person. Often, not only a good physical therapist is needed, but the loving support of family – encouraging the person, even as progress seems ever so slow.

The same is true in our spiritual life. Sometimes our patterns of behavior must be relearned. We must practice goodness. Whatever we practice we get good at…practice praying, you become a “good pray-er”…practice doing good deeds and it becomes second nature to help other people. On the other hand, it works the same way with bad habits…practice sinful habits, and they will become second nature! One of the best spiritual habits is regular sacramental Confession. When we walk out of the Confessional, we too can proclaim with Mary: “My soul magnifies the Lord”!

God bless us all always!
Deacon Mike