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Fourth Sunday of Advent 2021

December 19, 2021

Micah 5:1-4
Psalm 80:1-7
Hebrews 10:5-10
Luke 1:39-45

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As we arrive on the fourth Sunday of Advent, the readings invite us to relive the story of the immense transforming love of God for humanity. In this celebration, the presence of Mary predominates, chosen to be the mother of Jesus. The most blessed among us helps us reflect and believe in the promises of the Son of God.

The message of the readings is aimed at the mission of Jesus, who proposes a new world, where the marginalized and oppressed have a place and the suffering find dignity, a project of liberation and salvation for his people. The first reading suggests that Jesus, the descendant of David, came to propose a kingdom of peace and love, not built with the power of weapons or violence, but with the power of transforming love. The second reading suggests the liberating mission and aims at a relationship of communion and closeness between God and humanity.

The prophet Micah lived and exercised his ministry among farmers and was well acquainted with the social and political problems caused by the landowners at that time. When we look at our society, we come across different forms of violations committed against the poor and traditional peoples. Micah, a prophet committed to the causes of his people, is the one who has intimacy with God, has strength and needs to take a stand to defend and fight for the cause of the oppressed. The prophet Micah alerts us to continue our prophetism by announcing and denouncing the unjust attitudes existing in different segments of society, including government segments. This is our mission.

The reading of the letter to the Hebrews addressed to us this Sunday in Advent calls our attention to not lose heart in following Jesus Christ. Christ says, “I came to do your will.” We are called to serve with dedication even if we go through disappointments, difficulties and rejections. In the face of challenges, we must seek to animate each other and be a presence of transforming love. We know that in difficult times we are challenged and contaminated by discouragement, but we must not let ourselves lose the enchantment of prophetism. Transforming love is one that does not allow insensitivity and coldness before humanity. Let us remember that in the face of the legalism of the Pharisees, Jesus was asked about the meaning of the laws. And Jesus points out the practice of love as the essential element for the life of faith and prayer.

In the Gospel of St. Luke, we saw the meeting of two friends, Mary and Elizabeth, both pregnant. What makes us reflect is the joy that comes from the encounter between families. Mary left in a hurry. We can say that Mary put herself at service,. We can observe the experience of faith lived by Mary and Elizabeth.

Like Mary, we must have the courage to set out on the journey to the different places where missionary service is needed, bearing witness to hope and joy. Mary puts all her trust in God’s plan. And ourselves?

“Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”

Questions for reflection:

  • How am I responding to the mission facing the challenges of evangelization today?
  • What can I learn from the example of Mary and Elizabeth?
  • What are the characteristics of Mary that I most identify with?

—Sister Maria de Lourdes de Deus Pimentel, CSC