Saturday, December 19, 2009

Homily / Sermon for Advent 4

As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. (Luke 1:41)

Visiting relatives and friends is an important part of the observance of Christmas, isn’t it. Of course we can send cards - and we do, in great quantity and at extraordinary cost. We can write and receive letters - including those dreadful show-offy circular letters that some people seem to go in for. We can also, of course, send emails, texts and make phone calls - second best, perhaps, but better than nothing.

But nothing quite replaces the visit.

We may sometimes find it a chore to be visited or to visit, but often too it is a great joy. To see how much the children have grown. To catch up with news - sad and glad. To remark how much someone is ‘looking well’ (put weight on) or looks exactly the same (has aged) or must take care of themselves (looks ill). No remotely transmitted message, however necessary and however kindly meant can replace the personal contact. And sometimes - let’s not forget - what is a chore for one party may be a joy for the other.

Todays Gospel is about a Christmas visit (well sort of). And it is an encounter which St Luke narrates to us with this beautiful detail - that the presence of Christ within His mother touched both his Elizabeth and her unborn child with joy. And it is the greeting of Mother which brings that presence of Son.

When we are visited or visit we make similar encounters. We bring Christ to others and we meet him in others. We are blessed through what may seem a simple duty. Christ will be born amongst us, if we make him present through our greetings, our compassion and our love.


For Bidding Prayers, click here

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