Thursday, 16 December 2021 15:06

The promise fulfilled

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Advent4CWeb400Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’ (Luke 1:39-44)


The great Christmas feast is almost here. As always in Advent, what is promised in the first reading is brought to fulfilment in the Gospel reading. We began Advent with the cry, ‘Come, Lord Jesus’. We will end it with the joyful shout, ‘God is with us!’

Beautiful words from the Prophet Micah form the first reading today which looks forward to the birth of a leader for Israel who, as a shepherd king gathers the people and feeds them with the power of the Lord and the majesty of God. His powerful reign will bring about an era of security and he himself will be peace.

What Micah looks forward to in words becomes flesh and blood in the person of Jesus.

Luke’s touching story of the meeting of the pregnant cousins, Mary and Elizabeth, is full of joy, warmth and love.

It’s not hard to imagine the joyful greetings and embrace at Mary’s surprise visit. Mary greets Elizabeth with the usual greeting, Shalom (‘Peace!’) which is exactly what she brings with her - the One Micah talks about in the first reading, the Messiah.

In his very first act of witness to the presence of the Messiah, John leaps in his mother’s womb which releases within her the power of prophecy. Filled with the Holy Spirit Elizabeth proclaims Mary as blessed, wonders at why she, herself, should have been found worthy to give hospitality to the mother of the Lord, and blesses Mary’s faith that the promises of the Lord would indeed find fulfilment in her.

Can we dare to imagine that we, too, carry within us the Peace of God? Can we welcome the presence of God within us and one another? Can we find the ways to nourish our awareness of that presence, let it grow stronger and deeper until our whole life is filled with God, immersed in God and overflows in every word, thought and action of ours?

Read our Celebrating At Home prayer and reflection here.

pdf Celebrating At Home 4th Sunday of Advent [PDF] (3.27 MB)
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