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Homilies by Father Jaimon Dominic » Notes » Fourth Sunday in Advent 2018

  • Fourth Sunday in Advent 2018

    Posted by Mary Wilson December 23, 2018 - Category: Spirituality - 325 views - 0 comments - 0 likes -   #be there  #accompany 

    HOMILY BY FR. DOMINIC ON LK 1:39-45

     

    Little Anita has a very busy father. He is a dot-com technocrat who makes a lot of

    money but has little time to be with his family. Every night, however, Anita insists

    that her father read her a story before she would go to sleep. This continued for

    some time until the man found a “solution.” He bought Anita a colorful kid’s tape

    player and made a tape of her favorite stories in the story book. Whenever,

    therefore, the child asks him to read her a story he would simply push the button and

    play back the tape-recorded stories. Anita took that for a few days and then revolted

    and refused to accept the stories on tape. “Why,” asked the father, “the tape reads

    the stories as good as I do!” “Ya,” replied the little girl, “But I can’t sit on his

    lap.”

     

    One thing that is associated with the celebration of Christmas everywhere is giving.

    Christmas is the feast of giving. Christmas is the one time in the year when everyone

    is sure to give and receive a present, even if be only a Christmas card. People spent

    a lot of time and money shopping for the perfect Christmas gift. We put up Christmas

    trees to surprise family members with our gifts and to be surprised with theirs.

    Santa Claus is the perfect symbol of Christmas because Santa is the one who gives and

    gives and never gets tired of giving. Christmas is a feast of giving even from God’s

    point of view. For at Christmas we celebrate the mystery that “God so loved the

    world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not

    perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16). God gives, and the people of God

    give, and that is Christmas.

     

    If Christmas is the feast of giving, then the question of what to give and how to

    give becomes very important. After all what is worth doing is worth doing well. How

    can we improve on the quality of our giving? How can we improve on the quality of our

    Christmas celebration? Today’s Gospel reading helps us to answer some of these

     

     In today’s Gospel we read the story of Mary visiting with Elizabeth. What gift did

    Mary bring to Elizabeth? We are not told that she brought foodstuff, although

    She might as well have brought some. We are told she brought just one thing: herself.

    She gave Elizabeth the gift of her very presence. Mary could have, through a

    messenger, sent a greeting conveying her wishes about the coming birth of John the

    Baptist. Rather, she went in person and gave to Elizabeth something no messenger

    could possibly give. She gave the grace of her presence.

     

    Dear friends, this is the best and the hardest gift of all. It is easy to send

    flowers, it is easy to send a parcel, but to give the gift of ourselves, to make out

    the time to be with somebody, that is the gift that many people long for but do not

    receive at Christmas. Anita’s father gave his little girl a costly tape recorder and

    made tapes for her, but he did not give her himself, his presence, his time.

    Following Mary’s example in today’s Gospel story, we must, in addition to the flowers

    and parcels, give of ourselves, our presence, our time. We must find the time to

    visit and be with people. This is the greatest gift because its value cannot be

    calculated in terms of money. There are some in our community for whom the grace of

    presence has special meaning: the sick, the lonely, the dying and the alienated

    …those who have turned society off. Sometimes we are afraid to visit them because we

    don’t know what to say. Jesus tells us that we don’t have to say anything. Our

    presence speaks more eloquently than words. The real message is that we love them.

     

    Another point we can make out of Mary’s gift to Elizabeth is that one should give not

    according to one’s convenience but according to the needs of the receiver. It was not

    convenient for Mary to travel the lonely, dangerous road from Galilee to the hills of

    Judea. It was certainly for her an uphill task. But Elizabeth needed a helping hand.

    She was six months pregnant and would no longer be able to go and draw water from the

    Village well, to look after the crops in her garden and the animals in her farm,

    She would no longer be able to go to the market to do her shopping. So Mary, as soon

    as she learned that Elizabeth was six months pregnant went with haste and stayed with

    her for about three months, meaning, until she gave birth. Mary gave to Elizabeth

    what she needed when she needed it. That is the perfect gift.

     

    Dear friends, do you know one thing everybody needs today? Everybody needs

    encouragement. Everybody needs the interior peace and joy that comes from the Holy

    Spirit. This is what Mary’s visit did for Elizabeth. Mary’s visit was an inspiration

    to Elizabeth. When we visit people this Christmas, let us try to bring some

    inspiration into their lives, let us seek to bring them closer to God, and let us try

    to share with them the Spirit of God in us, the Spirit of consolation, of courage, of

    peace and joy, just as Mary did.

    photo via CreativeCommons/Flickr by Mike Baird


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