By Fr. Andrew Kelly
FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT – DEC. 23
Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 1:39-45) celebrates two women of faith. Luke’s beautiful portraits of Mary and Elizabeth manifest and reveal the meaning of Jesus Christ.
Elizabeth’s and Mary’s words and deeds are so significant they are now ideal models of what a baptized disciple of Jesus Christ looks and acts like.
When the community listens to and then follows these two women, the community becomes Mary and Elizabeth.
The community as Mary is always pregnant with the Word of God. Its mission, like Mary’s, is to daily give flesh and blood, and then birth, to the Word of God.
The community as Elizabeth always responds with outbursts of joy and excitement. The community, like the babe in Elizabeth’s womb, leaps for joy at the very sound of God’s holy Word in the Scriptures.
In faith, Elizabeth’s blessing of Mary is now Elizabeth’s blessing upon the community:
“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
This Christmas, if Mary and Elizabeth are not stirring the community’s heart and soul with joy and excitement, it has not been listening to, let alone following these two profoundly powerful women of Advent.
(Father Andrew Kelly is a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport.)
Scripture Readings for Dec. 23-30
2 Sm 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16
Acts 13:16-17, 22-25
Mt 1:1-25 or Mt 1:18-25
Mass During the Night
Mass at Dawn
Mass During the Day
Jn 1:1-18 or Jn 1:1-5, 9-14
Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59
1 Jn 1:1-4
Jn 20:1a and 2-8
1 Jn 1:5-2:2
1 Jn 2:3-11
Sir 3:2-6, 12-14 or 1 Sm 1:20-22, 24-28
Col 3:12-21 or Col 3:12-17 or 1 Jn 3:1-2, 21-24