FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
(Violet) Cycle C/Year II (December 20, 2015)
Mi 5:1-4/Heb 10:5-10/Lk 1:39-45
Upon hearing the message of the Archangel Gabriel that her cousin Elizabeth was six months pregnant, Mary immediately went to the place of Elizabeth, walking for three to four days just to arrived at her cousin’s place and be of service to her. When Elizabeth heard the greetings of Mary, she was filled with the Holy Spirit and began praising Mary in these words: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Lk 1:42).
Throughout the history of the civilization, the women as well as the children have endured the tests of time being considered simply as second class citizens and not being given the rights and privileges that men usually have. Although now a day, women get their due rights and privileges more and more and become equal to men in all aspects, still there are places and societies where women do not get what they ought to have and do not receive the needed acknowledgement of their importance in the society. Besides, women still suffer from the harsh abuses of men, some when they are still children and become victims of incest and pedophilia, others when they are already grown up and become victims of rape, still others when they are at work or at home and become victims of physical, psychological and sexual abuse. There are also women suffering from injustices and other kinds of abuses that the society inflicts to them. With these, we can certainly say that women really need to be liberated and to be given importance to. In other words, women need to be blessed.
In the gospel for this Sunday, we see Mary blessed by her cousin Elizabeth. The uniqueness of the blessing is that Mary was not simply blessed but that she was blessed among women. Elizabeth singled her out among all the women and Mary herself accepted the fact that from then on she would be blessed by all generations. Her blessing thus was not only for such specific time but for all eternity. She was, is and will be blessed among all women and by all generations. Elizabeth blessed Mary for the reason that Mary believed as she said: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Lk 1:45). Mary’s greatness is founded on the fact that she believed in God’s Words. For this same reason, she conceived the Word of God by the Holy Spirit. She became the mother of Jesus Christ, the God-made-man. We can also see in the words of Elizabeth that the blessing for Mary is connected to the fact that she is carrying in her womb the source and fullness of God’s blessings: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Lk 1:42).
With Mary as blessed among all women and by all generations, we can see that women are liberated from their wretched situation and are called to become blessed in their own ways and according to their own situations in life. The foundations of becoming blessed are provided by Mary herself: women and even men must believe the Word of God and must carry Christ in their hearts and minds so that they may all be blessed. Listening and believing are difficult especially during this modern time when we are distracted by what we see and hear in the televisions, movies, radios, internets, etc. Aside from that, we also have our own weaknesses and limitations that hinder us to listen to and obey the Word of God. But this is the call and challenge of God for us this advent season: we have to overcome these weaknesses and limitations and rely more on the grace and the goodness of God so that we become faithful to Him in all the things that we do, think or say. On the other hand, men and the society in general are called to respect the rights and privileges of women because they are essential to our societies. There can never be men and societies if there are no women. We must then recognize the importance of women and give to them their needs and rights.
This advent season, especially this Sunday, the Church presents to us Mary as our model of preparing for the coming of Christ in our hearts this Christmas and as an inspiration of becoming blessed in one way or another. We are all called to become blessed like Mary and we know that it can be realized only when we live the virtues of Mary of being humble, industrious, helpful, attentive and obedient. The fullness of our lives is when we are blessed by God not by our companions although maybe through them because it is only when God enters into our lives and bless us that we acquire the fullness and purity of happiness and life.