December 19, 2021 – Fourth Sunday of Advent
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/121921.cfm)
Once during our Mission at the outskirts of Dumaguete City, I happened to visit an old lady in her home. She was sick, bedridden, and alone in her payag-payag. When she saw me, she cried out with joy because someone cared to visit her. After we introduced ourselves as Redemptorists missionaries, I heard her confession, prayed over her, administered to her the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick and gave her Holy Communion. Again, she cried for joy because it has been quite a while since she last received Holy Communion. To lighten the situation, I asked her if she could still sing. Right there and then, she sang, “O Birhen Maria” the whole song, since she missed the Wednesday novena for OMPH in our Perpetual church in the city. As we were about to leave, she also asked me if I could visit her sickly neighbor. She also wanted to share to her sickly neighbor her experience of faith & joy in our visit with her.
Such experience reminds me of our gospel today and of how Elizabeth responded to the event. As Mary visited her, Elizabeth felt so honored, blessed, and happy that she praised the Lord, professed her faith, and blessed Mary. The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth is a sharing of joy and faith.
Christmas is also about visitation and sharing of faith and joy. Christmas is not only about Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and others, but most of all, about God. The story of our salvation is all about God visiting us, and we, welcoming Him into our lives. Then, God offers us His son, and we are blessed and honored to accept His Son into our lives and to share Him to others. Like the experience of lola and Elizabeth, it is a great honor and blessing for us to be visited by God and being given us His son as His first gift to us. Same feeling we would have, when a mother and her newly-born baby come to visit us in our home. It brings great joy, honor, praise, and fellowship amongst us.
At Christmas, we usually gather for the Eucharist and share food, time, stories, and gifts with one another. But seldom we do talk and share with each other about our faith in Incarnation, the Word of God made flesh in our lives, and its implications. Each of us has a private belief, theology, or understanding of Christmas, which, with regret, we usually keep private. We rarely share our joy and faith in God with others.
Time for us now to share our faith, most especially during these pandemic times, where & when we do feel at times estranged, isolated & neglected from one another. Deep inside, we do like to be visited, blessed & encouraged by others & one another. We do also like to share our life-stories & faith-journeys with one another. All it takes is just a simple act of kindness through our personal smiles, hellos, kamustahan, and above all, our virtual or face-to-face visits.
Remember, Christmas is more than just about food, gifts, and presents, but most of all it is about faith. The deepest, most personal, and most memorable gift we can and have to share with others this Christmas is our Christian faith. Our Faith is an expression of God’s word becoming flesh in our lives. To share our faith with others & one another is our great gift to others this Christmas. We know and believe in the message of Christmas. Time for us now to be the messenger of Christmas. Time for us now to be faith-sharers to others & one another.
As we are about to celebrate Christmas, like Lola and Elizabeth, may we joyfully expressed and share our faith to others since “Blessed are they who trusted that the Lord’s message to them would be fulfilled”
So be it. Amen.