My Dear Sisters and Brothers!
Seventeen centuries earlier there was a similar situation which St Luke captured in the Gospel. A young girl whose name was Mary had a visit from the Archangel Gabriel who announced to her that she would become the mother of the Son of God. Mary didn’t simply resign herself to the will of God but she welcomed it with all her love, faith and hope. She was the first one to give her life to the person and the mission of Jesus Christ. What does it mean to give one’s life to the person and the mission of Christ? It means sharing Christ who is your life, who is your love, who is your hope and who is your faith with others. Our Lady in today’s Gospel becomes the first human missionary of Jesus. What she accomplishes is done because she is totally committed to the Word of God. She didn’t give a brilliant speech about Jesus but because she was so soaked with the Word of God, she was so full of God’s Word that even her normal greeting was like a spark sent right to Elizabeth, the spark that set Elizabeth on fire which was already burning in Mary, the fire of God’s love.
My Friends, please pay attention to how Elizabeth reacts. This woman who a few months earlier was thinking about dying after having lived a long life childless now is lovingly embracing the growing bump in her tummy: the baby she didn’t expect to have. However when Mary greets her, the happy old Elizabeth discovers a far bigger happiness - the Saviour who was longed for by generations of Jews is coming to her now. Elizabeth describes Mary as “the Mother of my Lord.”
I realise that we are in Christmas mood right now but let fast forward thirty odd years. There is another scene in the Bible when someone meeting Jesus says: “My Lord and my God.” Do you know who the person was? St Thomas, to whom Christ came after the Resurrection and said: “Look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.” Thomas became a believer like Elizabeth became a believer.
That’s why, we Catholics, are so “crazy” about Mary because she is “crazy” about Jesus Christ. We keep turning to her to have a share in her love, faith and hope in Jesus Christ. Some friends of mine say that I am addicted to saying the Rosary. The truth is I am not addicted but I am realistic. My faith, hope and love for Jesus are not as strong as I would like it. That’s why I spend lots of time praying to Mary to get from her that spark which set Elizabeth on fire. I can also recommend to you, not just the Rosary, but all various prayers which bring us closer to Mary. Look what happened to Elizabeth at meeting the Mother of the Lord, our Lord.
To finish let me give you homework. Don’t panic I am not expecting you to learn Hebrew like St Joseph Tomasi. The project I would like you to undertake is to reflect on how you word your Christmas wishes, whether they are traditional postcards or emails, phone messages, Facebook, Skype, etc. Do you think that those who get those wishes from you can tell, firstly that you are a disciple of Christ and secondly that Christ is important to you?