for Sunday, December 20, 2015
Just as our ancestors in the faith had Sacred Scriptures with prophecies about the future and about a Savior - and often did not believe that anything would happen - so also we have Jesus Himself and also do not believe that He has much power in our world. When we look at our world, we wonder how we can possibly rejoice in the Lord and think that the coming of a Savior has changed anything. Yet, in faith, we are called to believe that the Savior is born for us and changes our world.
The Prophet Micah gives us the prophecy that the Savior will be born in Bethlehem. We who live now know that the birth of Jesus is placed in Bethlehem to fulfill the prophecy - pointing out that Jesus, the Son of Mary, is the Savior for us. Yet at times we lack any longing for a religious Savior but want more a Savior who will change our world and keep us safe. Is this also a true longing for the Lord?
The Letter to the Hebrews today tells us that Jesus comes to do the will of the Father. What is that will? Salvation for all and the invitation to share in the divine life. Can we really believe that? Are we not in illusion thinking that we share in some divine reality while our world is on the verge of complete destruction with wars and conflicts on all sides. Does Jesus touch my life today? Does he touch the world in which I live?
The Gospel of Luke today is the story of the Visitation. Mary goes to visit Elizabeth and in that visit we are given the words that we need to hear: Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.
Faith is about listening to the Word of the Lord and believing that the Word of God is active in our world and transforming our world, even when from all outward appearances, nothing seems to be happening at all.
First, for us who follow the Lord, we must allow the Lord to transform us so that we live our lives from His Word. We must strive to have peace and tranquility and live in mercy at all times. This can only happen if we allow the Word to have effect in us. That can only happen if we read the Word and ponder it and allow it go deep within us.
Second, as we are transformed, we begin to see that the world is always in crisis and that God does not remake our world because God respects our freedom as humans to do what we want to do. The brokenness of our world comes from broken people. The only way to change the world is for us to convert. And so we have all of the apparitions of Mary, calling for the world to do penance and to convert. The Mother of God is simply repeating what Jesus preached in His lifetime: turn away from evil and do God. Seek the kingdom!
Third, in order to celebrate Christmas, the birth of our Savior, we can prepare ourselves in these final days by listening to the Word and asking for our personal conversion. We can also pray for the conversion of the world, but if we are not converted, then it is no use to pray for the conversion of others. May Christ be born in us and in our world so that divine transformation will be our experience now and always.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Micah 5.2-5a
Second Reading: Hebrews 10.5-10
Gospel: Luke 1.39-45
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: