O Rising Dawn, Radiance of the Light eternal and Sun of Justice: come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

There can be no doubt at all that Our Lady was both joyful and at least a little bit apprehensive about the news that God had chosen her to bear his Son.  So when the angel Gabriel told her that her relative Elizabeth was also expecting a child, Mary set out at once to visit her.

How Mary’s heart leapt at the sound of Elizabeth’s voice.  Here was someone who knew what was happening to her and who could rejoice with her, despite the difficulties ahead.  It must have been just what Mary needed, which is perhaps why she hurried to visit Elizabeth.  During the months that followed, the two women gave each other companionship and mutual support as they reflected upon the great things that God was doing in their lives.

How important it is that we support and affirm one another in the same way; and especially in those times when we are tempted to doubt our own value or our ability to do the work to which God has called us.   The right words at the right moment can make all the difference.  Mary and Elizabeth show us just how much we can help each other simply by our being there.  By listening and by offering words of encouragement, we can help each other embrace the path that God has marked out for us no matter how daunting it may seem at times.

Today’s gospel is a call to value the solidarity with those with whom we live and share our lives.  It’s a call to respect and value each other as members of the same family.  It’s a call to join ourselves in solidarity with the poor and the needy.  Every day, God gives us so many opportunities to meet Jesus in each other, so many opportunities for our hearts to leap for joy at the sight of each other.

Just as Our Lady had the honour of bearing the Son of God in her womb, we have the honour of bearing him in our hearts.  In these last few days before Christmas, let’s open our eyes to see Jesus in each other so that his light can shine on us all.



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