December 21, 2011 - Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Today's Readings

Our first reading today, from the Song of Songs, is part of a love song. Throughout history, some people have complained that this love song should not be in the Bible. It never even mentions God. These people have such little imagination. The story of salvation is a love story. In this song sung between the lover and the beloved in alternating verses, we have a true image of our relationship with God. He is the lover, and we are the beloved. He tells us to “Rise up, my love, my beautiful one, and come.” He repeats this invitation over and over. God is always saying to you: “Rise up, my love, my beautiful one, and come.” It is not flattery. He loves you, whether anyone else does or not. He sees you as beautiful, whether the world says you are or not. He is calling you. How can you resist?

Our Gospel today shows us what the beloved of God should be like. Mary was in a hurry. She went into the hill country with haste. Was she running away? No. She was in a hurry because there were things to be done. She goes to her cousin Elizabeth, to help her during her pregnancy. How unselfish this girl is! She does not think of her own needs; she thinks about what would help someone else.

When she received God’s gift to the world in her own womb, she did not withdraw into hiding; she went out into the world. She went forth as the Christ-bearer. She wanted to give what she had received. She does not greedily hold on to the gift given to her by God; she immediately, and with haste, gives it to the world, beginning with Elizabeth.

No gift from God is as great as the gift of his Son to the world. In Jesus Christ, God gave himself to the world, but this gift of love was not given to everyone at once. This gift was entrusted to one person – Mary, the Mother of God. God relied on Mary. He trusted Mary. So it was that the whole world received God’s gift through Mary. No one has received Jesus Christ except through his Mother. Though Peter and Paul preached Jesus to the ends of the earth, Jesus entered this world in one particular place, and that place is the womb of the Blessed Virgin. All generations will call her blessed.