FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT - C
Mary, upon receiving the message from the angel Gabriel that her cousin Elizabeth was conceiving, did not waste her time and went as quickly as she could to lend her a hand. She being the first evangelized became the first evangelizer. She did not just bask in the glory that was announced unto her by the angel but went out of her way to translate the message into concrete service. This is the greatness of Mary!
Mary and Elizabeth are iconic representations of the New Testament and the Old Testament: Mary, being young and fertile represented the New Testament while Elizabeth was old and barren represented the Old Testament. Both representing the People of God, they were agents of the Incarnation. The Visitation was the coming together of the two eras in human history represented by the two women soon to be mothers. It was also the meeting for the very first time of the two men who would soon change the course of history: John the Baptist and Jesus!
The pregnancies of Mary and Elizabeth were out of this world: a very young lady of fourteen conceiving without a human father and a woman in her seventies who used to be barren. Both of them perplexed and confused needed each other to understand the very unusual events that were happening to them. Mary needed the wisdom of an older mother and Elizabeth needed the physical help of someone younger than her.
In the Old Testament, the two tablets of the Ten Commandments were kept in a wooden box called the Ark of the Covenant which represented the physical presence of God among the Isrealites. When the Ark of the Covenant was being carried to Jerusalem, David danced in front of the presence of God (2 Samuel 6). In the New Testament, the Word who became flesh was kept in the New Ark of the Covenant which was the womb of Mary. John the Baptist like David leapt for joy in the presence of God being carried by Mary. John the Baptist acknowledged the new presence of God among his people in the person of Jesus.
The Visitation was not just an historical event between Mary and Elizabeth or Jesus and John the Baptist, it is the continuous manifestation of God amongst us in the present time. We are the new agents of the Incarnation. God sends us people to extend us a helping hand in our darkest moments. God may also send us to help other people just like Mary to Elizabeth. Sometimes we are not aware when God uses us to touch other people; at other times, God also uses other people to touch us, too.
During human tragedies, many accidental heroes are born without them wanting or knowing it. They are the people who go out of their way to lend a helping hand to those who are in need. Like Mary, we are also privileged to be “arks of the covenant” in our own little ways when we act as agents of the Incarnation through our service to to the poorest of the poor. Through us, God’s presence shines once more in the world; like David and John the Baptist, in the coming of Jesus ,creation dances with joy…..