On this 4th Sunday of
Advent our gospel is from St. Luke. Itis the story of the Visitation of Mary (Luke 1:39-45). Immediately
following the last verse (v.38) of the scene of the Annunciation we hear that, "Mary
set out..in haste." She does not go alone! For, "the Immaculate
virgin...became the dwelling place of divinity" (Roman Missal, collect
for Dec. 20th, p.27). Filled with the divine life of God at the
Annunciation Mary goes in haste to bring God's presence to Elizabeth and John
the Baptist: "Hark! My lover--here he comes springing across the
mountains" (Songs 2:8) now through the humanity of Mary as she "traveled to the
hill country in haste" (Luke 1:39).The
Spirit-filled presence of Jesus within Mary "proclaims" in silence a new season
for humanity: "For see, the winter is past" (Songs 2:11). The root
meaning of the word, visit, is "to see". Faith is an enlightening of the
"eyes of the heart". The Father desires all humanity to 'see' that with Jesus "God
is with us"--Emmanuel.
"God is love" (1 John 4:8,16), and this
love is missionary by nature. In the mystery of the Visitation of Mary Jesus
began his mission in the world from within Mary. Now, he continues his
mission through each of us: "Whoever receives the one I send, receives me"
(John 13:20). We are reminded that the Church "is the whole Christ, head and
body" (CCC 771). At the scene of the Visitation Mary bears Jesus, the head,
within her body. Here, Mary models the Church and Her true calling. The Church
exists to bring Jesus to others. We are Jesus' Body in the world: Jesus is
always with us, living in us, and acting through us in everything we do...and
through intercession God "visits" His people to set them free.
The Latin word, Adventus, means
"coming". Jesus still 'comes' ("Hark my lover--here he comes") to others
through our humanity. He continues his mission in the world through our
bodies. Like Mary, through us Jesus can say, "Wherever you go, I will go,
wherever you lodge, I will lodge" (Ruth 1:16). As intercessors each of us is
called to become a sign, a "sacrament" of God's presence with His people. At
the Visitation, through Mary "The groom is here!" (Mt. 25:6). John the
Baptist, the groom's best man, encounters Jesus for the first time through
Mary's humanity. Like Mary each of us is called to share the fruit of our
'nuptial encounters' with the Lord with others.
The mystery of the Annunciation
contains Eucharistic symbolism. At the Annunciation Mary received Jesus in her
body after she responded to the word of God with her fiat, her yes. After she
conceived Jesus within her, Mary became, one might say, the first "Eucharistic
minister" to the home-bound in her visit to Elizabeth and John. In every
Eucharist at the moment of holy communion each of us is spoken to personally by
God through the priest. Each of us responds with our 'fiat', our amen. Then,
each of us receives Jesus within ourselves in a unique way. Then we are told to
"go in peace". Like Mary we, too, do not go alone. In every mass Jesus
visits us. At the end of everymass
we are sent, in turn, to allow Jesus to continue to visit others through our
1)How aware am I of being Jesus' body in the
has Jesus 'visited' others through me recently?
Any scripture from the text; Is.45:15; 2 Cr. 4:7; Eph.
TIME TO EXPIATE"
"THIS WEEK'S BURNING ISSUES" ON
we must be a praying Church: Am I praying for our Church and our world?