Friday of the Third Week of Advent
(Song of Songs 2:8-14; Luke 1:39-45)
In many ways human beings are like all the other kinds of animals. They are born, they live, and they die. But there are differences. Unlike other animals humans think, represent their thoughts in symbols, and use the symbols to communicate with one another. These capacities leave humans with questions: Where do they come from? What happens to their spirits at death? How does their universal understanding of good and evil come about? Faith gives a perspective to address these questions. It is like a telescope which enables a human to see the universe more clearly. Today’s gospel makes a ringing endorsement of faith.
When Mary visits Elizabeth, the latter greets her with a string of blessings. “Most blessed,” she says, “are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Then Elizabeth names the cause of Mary’s blessedness. It is not that she is a virgin who is about to give birth. Nor even that she will me “the mother of my Lord.” No, Mary is blessed for believing “what was spoken to you by the Lord…”
We too have the faith that Elizabeth praises. We too believe what the Lord tells us: that Jesus is His Son; that he died on the cross to redeem our sins and then rose from the dead; and that we await his coming in glory to judge the world. The beginning of the realization of these truths, and not reindeer and snowmen, is what Christmas is all about.