READINGS: Micah 5:1–4a; Ps.80: 2-3, 15–16, 18–19; Hebrews 10: 5-10; Luke 1: 39–45

Advent 4th sunday“Make us turn to you. Let us see your Face.”

“Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste.” Somehow Miryam of Nazareth has been imaged as a very young woman alone and hurrying along the hilly road to Judah. What had she told her parents? Did they encourage or dissuade her? What was she thinking? Can I imagine her rushing and calling in to dear old Elizabeth? And on hearing, spirit-filled Elizabeth instantly knew the presence of her Lord in her young cousin! Her own unborn child began his life-work announcing good news by leaping for joy.

What great hugging welcomed the imminence of holiness! Elizabeth’s son, like his cousin, filled his mother’s womb, even as ‘he whom the whole world cannot contain’ is yet contained and contented “to do your will, O God.”

Lyrics of an old song popped into my mind: “…for it was Mary, Mary, long before the fashions came… but with propriety, society would say ‘Marie.’” Cultural mores and taboos can scorn, and current colloquials can speak crudely of the “fruit of your womb.” The experience of wonder in the working out of Mystery can so often cast off “pregnant” as unworthy “under the circumstances.”

At a conference of Sisters about twenty years ago, one older Sister remarked: “According to the Bible, God does wonderful things with virgins and barren old women!””

What mystery is recognized in the unexpected, the unplanned, the unprotected events in my daily living?

Lord, make us turn to you. Let us see your Face and we will be saved.

–Sr. Eileen T. Kelly, SC

Sister Eileen is a teacher who served for many years in New York and in the Bahamas.