Mary set out
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,
“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.”
Mary just learned that she was pregnant with the Messiah. As part of the angel’s message, she also learned that Elizabeth was six months pregnant, and she proceeded in haste to be of service to her older relative. She did not travel for the mere sake of curiosity or to discover if the angel is really telling the truth. Instead, she sets out to uncover more of God’s mystery and to do His will.
As we have been given peace and new life from the addictions, compulsions, and unhealthy attachments which once dominated us, we can set out to do the same. In addition to insuring immunity from a relapse or acting out, service to others helps us stay close to the true meaning of Advent and Christmas. We are surrounded by cultural attitudes which cleverly assure us that Christmas is about getting things. Underneath this belief runs a current of scarcity which reminds us of all that we do not have.
When we are committed to understanding our role in the greater context of God’s kingdom, we find grace and blessings in abundance. Just as Mary came to understand her role in the story of salvation, we are awoken to our part in the same story. We might seek to pray alongside Mary as we proclaim the words, “May it be done to me according to Your word.”
The more we offer ourselves to the process of recovery, the more meaning we will find in our lives. When our recovery is overlapped with the sacramental life of our faith, we get to know Jesus in an intimate and personal way.
We may be inclined to share glad tidings with those we encounter in the coming days as we turn to God for inspiration and hope. We have been offered a priceless gift of peace and freedom and find joy in the experience of sharing it with others.
- What challenges, if any, are you experiencing as we approach Christmas and the coming of Jesus?
- What spiritual tools help you remain at peace during the holiday season?
- What changes have you made in your response to seasonal expectations, family relationships, and potential challenges?
- What inspires you to share hope?
Sunday Mass Readings
First Reading: Isaiah 7:10-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Second Reading: Romans 1:1-7
Gospel: Matthew 1:18-24