Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Readings

SG 2:8-14   or Zep 3:14-18a

LK 1:39-45

Reflection

In the movie in my mind, Elizabeth is sitting at a table, taking a break from the chores of the day and feeling the fatigue of moving into the third trimester of pregnancy, particularly as an older pregnant woman (I have been there). Mary arrives and happily calls out for Elizabeth. In that moment both Elizabeth and the infant in her womb leap up as Elizabeth hurries over to greet the younger Mary. In that scene we see fatigue fade away, replaced by enthusiastic joy.

It is the same enthusiastic joy we experience when we gather in community with those who know us, who understand what is happening in our lives and who remind us we are not alone. For me, it is significant that Mary travels to see Elizabeth soon after being visited by the angel Gabriel, who first shared the blessing of bearing Jesus and then shared the news of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Mary sought that community and both Elizabeth, and the child she carried, experienced the joy at the coming together.

How I have missed those opportunities to come together. To leap up and hug a friend or family member. To be in the physical presence of those who understand what is happening in my life, to be reminded I am not alone.

And yet … maybe if Mary and Elizabeth lived now, Mary would have immediately reached out by Zoom or Facetime to connect with Elizabeth. John the Baptist might still have leapt with joy in Elizabeth’s womb. The fatigue and isolation might have slipped away and Elizabeth might still have demonstrated her deep knowing of Mary by affirming, “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

My prayer, O Lord, is to remember that it is a gift that I can find ways to be in community where we can lift each other up, remind each other we are not alone and affirm that Your promise has been fulfilled in the birth of Christ.

Marie Minnick
Assistant Dean of Students
University of San Diego