4th Sunday of Advent – 19 December 2021

As the celebration of Christmas draws near, we are reminded by the Gospel reading of those who participated actively to prepare for the coming of the Lord. We have Mary, the humble handmaid who said “yes” to the plan of salvation and heard that Elizabeth was with child. In a beautiful way, she brought her Son our Lord to encounter John, who leapt for joy upon hearing Mary’s greeting, the same way we too should leap for joy at this opportunity to meet Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh and brought to us through the loving care of Mary, His mother and our mother. We also have Elizabeth, who recognised the significance of this encounter with Mary and her Son, and continually praised God for giving her this immense gift. Finally, we have John, who not only rejoiced in hearing the beautiful words, and Mary and the awesome presence of the Saviour, but also set the stage for the future ministry as the prophet of the Lord to prepare them for the coming of the Messiah.

All graces shown and shared by these holy men and women were not shared in vain, but rather used wisely and generously throughout their lives in discipleship. They did not dwell too long in this joyful occasion. Instead it became the source of strength and courage for them all as they began the next chapter of their lives as instruments of God’s grace. Mary went back to her home to prepare to the imminent arrival of her Son, the Saviour of the world. Elizabeth continued to nurture and care for the baby John to help him grow in holiness. John, in turn learnt from the example of his elders, and when the time was right, used God’s grace to begin his public ministry to prepare the way of the Lord.

May we too always share in the joy of the coming of our Lord, and use this encounter wisely to grow in holiness and then be disciples of Christ to the whole world.

Fr Francis Poon

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