Intention: We pray for a faith-filled and transforming Christmastime for our world, one that fills it with peace, justice, and good will toward all.
Today’s Gospel | Luke 1:46-56
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior,
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.”
Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home.
A Refection for the Fourth Thursday of Advent
Today’s Gospel gives us one of the most beautiful and profound texts in the Christian Scriptures. The Magnificat, or Canticle of Mary, is a song of praise to the wonder of God and the joy of being chosen to serve him by being the mother of his Son. It also is a description of those to whom his Son was most specially being sent. Of all who awaited the savior, none were more in need of him than those who had been beaten down by life, pushed to the margins, told that they were unworthy of goodness. In their forsakenness, these people – the poor, the sick, the outsiders – longed simply to be told that they somehow were acceptable to God. With this knowledge, they could move forward, reassured that they mattered. This is what salvation looked like to them. And still does. Each Christmas, as we celebrate the grace of God’s choice to be with us, we would do well to remember that God has chosen to be with all of us, especially those who we would never choose if it were up to us. As Pope Francis warns, “I think we, too, are the people who, on the one hand, want to listen to Jesus, but on the other hand, at times, like to find a stick to beat others with, to condemn others.” The gift that God freely gives, that of himself, he gives as one gift for all, and the only person’s worthiness that we can rightly judge is our own. To enter the spirit of Christmas, we must allow the compassion and unconditional love of God to enter our hearts. The time of Advent is a time to learn humility and gratitude.
Eternal Father, in these days before Christmas, the scriptures tell us of how humbly your Son came to the world. Yet, this time can often bring out in us selfishness and vanity. Help us to walk humbly with you through these days, grateful for your presence and your works. Fill us with caring and respect for all of our brothers and sisters, so that we set aside self-interest in order to serve them. May we find our satisfaction and joy this season in the grace of belonging to you and to one another. We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts forever.