Fourth Sunday of Advent

Readings

MI 5: 1-4A

HEB 10: 5-10

LK 1: 39-45

Reflection

Mary arrived, and in an instant, Elizabeth knew what news Mary had to share. “Blessed are you among women,” Elizabeth says, “And blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Elizabeth’s heart is overcome with delight as the child in her womb leaped for joy. “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” 

How does this happen to me? A question like this cuts both ways. There are moments in our lives where we ask this question in anguish, wondering how something so awful could happen to us or to someone we love. Perhaps Elizabeth had asked this very question for years, questioning how it could be that God would leave her barren. And yet, it was this very barrenness that created the space where God could do something new. Today, we join  Elizabeth as she asks this same question in elation, “How could something so wonderful come happen to me?”

Have you ever known that kind of joy? Have you ever been so overwhelmed with excitement that you couldn’t contain your celebration?

I remember the moment that I found out that my wife was pregnant, and we would be expecting a child. For a moment, time stood still, and it was as if nothing else mattered. Joy filled my heart for our great hopes had come to fruition, and everything in our lives was about to change. Now, 7 months after the birth of our daughter, Rosalie Frances, I continue to ponder, “How can this happen to me, that the Lord should bless me with the joyful privilege and sacred responsibility to be a father?”

But that is the nature of joy, isn’t it? We who have been privileged to encounter Christ are also tasked with the responsibility to share what we have received. But we can only receive what we have space to hold.

As the birth of Jesus quickly approaches, let us become barren like Elizabeth so that we too might be prepared to receive the fullness that God offers in Christ and proclaim with Mary her great Magnificat:

 “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” (Lk 1:46-47).

Tony M. Krzmarzick, ‘08
Campus Minister and Director of the Father Gafney Mission Trip Program
St. Ignatius High School
Cleveland, Ohio