Advent, December 22nd

In today’s Gospel the Blessed Mother reminds us that her story, and ours, is not one of rags to riches, but of rags to redemption. In singing the Magnificat she is rejoicing that the tatters of a world afflicted by sin with no hope of redemption on its own is taking a turn for the better with the coming of John the Baptist and Jesus. In becoming the Mother of God and of the Messiah she is celebrating that Our Lord is visiting his people and blessing the poor and the lowly, like her. The very fact that God chose this poor and humble girl to be his mother shows that wealth and status don’t mean much to him: he is captivated by poverty of spirit and humility, and that pulls down any pretensions the wealthy and mighty have about their merits before God.

Advent is almost over. Mary reminds us today that our cause for rejoicing should not be how many gifts we receive or how many people remember us at Christmas, but how blessed we’ve been by God. We may not have received everything we wanted this year, but Our Lord has blessed us with everything we truly need. Like Mary we should live this time praising God for the wonders he has worked in our lives and show gratitude to others for the gift they’ve been to us.

Elizabeth yesterday tried to tell Mary how great she was; Mary responded not only by saying how great God was (the Magnificat), but by caring for Elizabeth as she prepared for John’s birth, despite the fact that Mary was in her first trimester, characterized by hormonal ups and downs. Let’s imitate the selflessness of the Blessed Mother and serve others even at the expense of our plans or comfort zone.

Readings: 1 Samuel 1:24–28; 1 Samuel 2:2, 4–8ab; Luke 1:46–56.