4th Sunday of Advent

12-23-2018From Our PastorFather Prince Raja

Today's Gospel tells us the touching story of Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth and the recognition of the baby Mary was carrying in her womb as the long awaited savior. This visitation serves to bring together the two annunciation strands of Luke's infancy narrative. Here the two pregnant women of faith meet, even though Elizabeth is clearly subordinate to Mary. Both children in the womb will be great, but Mary's child will be the son of the Most High. With the greeting of Elizabeth, the child in her womb John leaps for joy. Elizabeth takes this opportunity to call Mary as the blessed one. What does it mean to be blessed in the context of Mary is the question we would always ask.

For a secular person Mary may look so ordinary; but Mary's blessedness had to do with something much deeper, in the sense she had her heart open to God. This could be recognized only by a person of faith. The Bible uses the word blessed to mean happy. Happiness is the joy that comes with the contact with the divine and Mary had it in her life. Mary was blessed and happy because the promise of God was fulfilled in her. She was the one who believed that the savior would come to the world through her and that is the happiness we celebrate at Christmas.

The readings of today take us closer to the Christmas celebration. There is the quietness and expectancy and we are awaiting the glorious event to take place immediately. Each of the three readings takes up a different aspect of this great mystery to help us in our understanding and in our personal preparation. We see the divine plan put into action in the selected persons to make us understand that nothing is impossible to God. This promise is magnificent and it is to come into existence in time. Even the ends of the earth will hear his wisdom and peace will prevail among the nations. His coming is already announced to the nations.

May the celebration of Christmas cause us to rejoice like the angels, hear like shepherds, and follow like the wise men. As the world rejoices in the wonder of Jesus's birth, May you be blessed with a beautiful Christmas and with every happiness in the New Year 2019. I really appreciate and thank all the people who wished me with gifts and greeting cards. Have a blessed Christmas.