12-19 Reflection

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

Often enough the definitive biographies of great people offer an air of “little did we know” about them as they start to recount their story.  It’s natural in many ways, because only God knows for sure how an infant or toddler will turn out as a mature adult.  From the benefit of his or her historical hindsight, the reader already knows what’s going to happen.  The biographer can only provide intriguing details, or researched tidbits, to add to the story of what eventually unfolds.

In the case of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we really don’t have a biography in the modern sense of the word.  Evidently the Holy Spirit was not interested in such.  Nor did the evangelists who gave us a four-part accounting of Jesus’ words and deeds have a biographical intent.  The closest we can come to filling in the blanks is to appreciate what the producers of the online series “The Chosen” have created for us.

St. Luke brings his readers a well-designed literary piece about a visit of the Blessed Mother to her cousin Elizabeth.  Respected biblical scholars explain.  Here is Professor Father Robert J.
Karris, O.F.M. : “Luke’s intent in these verses is missed if one accentuates Mary’s charity and social concern in visiting her aged, pregnant relative Elizabeth.  Note that if he were intent on presenting Mary as a model of charity he would not have written of Mary departing from Elizabeth at the time of her greatest need.  It also strains credulity to imagine a fourteen-year-old Jewish virgin making a four-day journey by herself.  Luke’s intent is literary and theological.  He brings together the two mothers-to-be so that both may praise God active in their lives and that Elizabeth’s child might be presented as the ‘precursor’ of Mary’s child.”

We believers know John the Baptist’s role in the story of our salvation.  We know also how much he was held in esteem by Jesus.  Our only task in Advent is to remember how God the Father prepared the world for His Son’s arrival and what that means for us now and for our future life.  We continue to watch how His Mother Mary lived in perfect accord with the Father’s will and how love of Him permeated her sinless life.  We also learn so much from her.

As our own biography is being written each and every day, including Christmas Day and beyond, we can only hope that a copy of it will be available in heaven.

God love you and give you His Christmas peace!

Reading I:  Micah 5: 1-4a
The announcement of a new David coming out of Bethlehem to restore his kingship is indeed a great joy.  The “Little Town” will suddenly become big in the history of Israel and of the world in general.

Reading II:  Hebrews 10: 5-10
The author quotes Psalm 40, which enunciates the fact that God prefers our obedience to ritual sacrifices.  Christ’s obedience is the perennial model.

The Gospel:  Luke 1: 39-45
The physician-evangelist continues his narration of the dawning of the great fulfillment of God’s promise.  This visit of Mary is not to be taken literally, since it strains credulity that a 14 year old pregnant girl would undertake a 4 day journey alone over mountainous territory.  Instead it brings Luke the opportunity to bring the two mothers-to-be together to praise God and to show how Elizabeth’s son is the precursor of Mary’s Son.