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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Weekdays of Advent: December 21st

1st Reading (Song 2:8-14): Hark! my lover–here he comes springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills. My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag. Here he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattices. My lover speaks; he says to me, «Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one, and come! For see, the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of pruning the vines has come, and the song of the dove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance. Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come! O my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the secret recesses of the cliff, let me see you, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and you are lovely».
Responsorial Psalm: 32
R/. Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.
Give thanks to the Lord on the harp; with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises. Sing to him a new song; pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness.

But the plan of the Lord stands forever; the design of his heart, through all generations. Blessed the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.

Our soul waits for the Lord, who is our help and our shield, for in him our hearts rejoice; in his holy name we trust.
Versicle before the Gospel (---): Alleluia. O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law: come to save us, Lord our God! Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 1:39-45): Mary set out in those days 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, “Most 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.”

“Blessed are you who believed”

Fr. Àngel CALDAS i Bosch (Salt, Girona, Spain)

Today, the text of the Gospel corresponds to the second joyful mystery: the “Visitation of the Blessed Virgin to Her Cousin, St. Elizabeth”. It certainly is a complete mystery! A silent burst of profound and intense joy as History has never ever narrated! It is Mary's joy that has just become a mother, because it is fitting that all grace continues to come through Mary by the work of the Holy Spirit. The Latin word “gaudium” expresses a deep and intimate joy that does not burst out. Despite that, the mountains of Judah were covered with joy. Mary exulted as a mother who has just realized she is expecting a child. And what a Child! A Child that, before being born, already peregrinated through the boulder trodden tracks leading to Ain Karim, nestled in the heart and lovely arms of Mary.

Joy in Elisabeth's soul and face, and in the baby leaping in her womb. The words of Mary's cousin will travel through time: “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb”. (Lk 1:42). The prayer of the Saint’s Rosary, as a source of joy, is one of the new perspectives discovered by our Pope John Paul II in his apostolic Letter about the Rosary of the Virgin Mary.

Joy is indivisible from faith. “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:43). The joy of God and Mary has spread all over the world. To allow it within us, we need only to open ourselves through our faith to God's constant influence in our life, while walking our path with the Infant, with She who has believed, by holding St. Joseph's strong and enamored hand. Earthen paths, asphalt, cobblestones or muddy roads through, any Christian always carries upon him, two dimensions of faith: the union with God and the service to others. Both quite closely linked up: with a unity of life that establishes no solution of continuity between one thing and the other.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “When she hears this Mary sets out for the hill country, hastening for joy. Filled with God, where would she hasten but to the heights? The Holy Spirit does not proceed by slow, laborious efforts.” (Saint Ambrose)

  • “Mary’s visit to Elizabeth occasions an encounter in the Holy Spirit between Jesus and John. Jesus is the younger of the two, the one who comes later. But he is the one whose proximity causes John to leap in his mother’s womb and fills Elizabeth with the Holy Spirit.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “Elizabeth is the first in the long succession of generations who have called Mary ‘blessed’. ‘Blessed is she who believed...’ (Lk 1:45). Mary is ‘blessed among women’ because she believed in the fulfillment of the Lord's word (…). Mary, because of her faith, became the mother of believers, through whom all nations of the earth receive him who is God's own blessing: Jesus, the ‘fruit of thy womb’.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 2676)