This last Sunday of Advent our hearts are drawn to a scene of great love and we find Mary who is with child visiting her kinswoman Elizabeth. The image is one of two women who profoundly experience God’s love and share their experience with one another.
This week as we see Mary again central in the biblical account there are two characteristics that all Christians can emulate and also honor her for, namely her faith and her obedience. The Gospel teaches us about Mary in this weeks reading we see Mary’s faith. Having received word of her cousins blessing, she trusts what the angel has told her and she goes to the side of Elizabeth. This generous act is one of faith and love. When Mary loves she shows care and concern. Even in her own state of pregnancy and the challenges of travel she ”makes room” for Elizabeth’s situation. She values and comes out of herself in service and in love.
“Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah”
Mary is honored because of her willingness to allow God to use her for the purpose of His plan of salvation. Both she and Elizabeth have key roles as we watch Salvation history unfold. Mary’s faith is put into action through her obedience and her loving service. This is why Mary cannot be just tossed to the side, rather she becomes a model for each of us.
“Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”
Making room for others, showing that we care and that they matter is putting faith into action. When we can make room for others in our lives it is then that like Mary we cooperate with God’s plan. Each of us is created and called to share the love of God though the generous outpouring of ourselves for others.
This week during our Synodal prayer and reflection we reflected on the 1 Chapter of Luke, in the 38th verse listen and take note of Marys response:
.Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.” Although Mary was confused at the announcement she ultimately resigns herself to a trusting obedience to God’s will. Clearly Mary is perplexed, the message seems confusing but we are given the opportunity, like Mary, to accept God,s Word and his will, Even when the going gets tough we must remain faithful and obedient.
The Synod calls us to listen to one another, it gives us the chance to listen with the Ear of Heart, the opportunity to listen and respond with love. Through the pouring of our love and understanding we put our faith into action. We must eagerly desire to reach out beyond ourselves, to the other. This engagement brings us into communion with our sister or brother, this participation in the very struggles and pains, as well as joys and moments of great blessing, thrust us into mission. We go to the peripheries and enter the lives of those on the margins. We stand with them, we lift them up and we work to transform unjust systems and practices. It is here in the work of mission that we find our purpose, our calling like Mary to participate in God plan if salvation.
The synodal process enables us to listen first to the Holy Spirit through prayer and the reflection on God’s word. Listening to God speak to our hearts, to hear Him calling us, summoning us to create new ways to participate in the missionary activity of the church. This listening will bring us to our journeying with the Spirit to encounter in a new way our sisters and brothers leading them to Christ.