Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year C)

Mic 5:1-4; Heb 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45

It seems that Christmas is becoming odorous now, ilang tulog na lang pasko na (a few days from now, its already Christmas).

As I was strolling at Gaisano and other big department stores, people are very busy buying commodities, gifts, and others. I’m sure they are going to give these to their loved ones and others who are closed to them.

As for me, the kind of gift that I am going to give during this Christmas season is a kind of gift, an ordinary gift which others are very familiar with. It is just four letters and these are the four things I am going to give. The first one begins with letter:

R – espect. Everybody has to be respected even little ones and those we consider useless. I respect your opinion because that’s yours and nobody can argue with you. I respect your idea and everything in you, I respect them. Another one is it begins with letter:

O – penness. I’m open to all possibilities. In other words, becoming flexible in all things with my faith in Christ as my strong foundation in life especially with my relationship with others. I am open to criticism because that gives me strong determination and this enables me to grow stronger as a person. I’m open to all advices and what others want me to do. Another one is it begins with letter:

S – ensitivity. I can easily understand your feeling at the moment. If you are angry, then, I will not disturb you. The last one is, it begins with letter:

E – mpathy. I am willing to join you in your feeling. If you are sad, then, I will not laugh at your sadness. If you cry, then, I will cry too so that there will be few tears to come in your eyes.

If we are going to summarize these four things, it is like this: Respect begins with letter R, Openness with O, Sensitivity with S and Empathy with letter E. What do we get if we are going to combine them? We get a flower called ROSE which symbolizes love. So during this season of Christmas and the rest of the year, I will try to give ROSE even if nobody likes it anymore.

In our gospel today, St. Elizabeth cried in a loud voice when Virgin Mary visited her: “For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy,” (v. 44). Mary shares her life by giving joy to her cousin Elizabeth and for Elizabeth, this is one of the greatest gift that she received throughout her life, to be greeted by the mother of the Lord. . The joy continues as Elizabeth sees, touches, tastes and hears the things Mary has done. Jesus too begins his life by giving joy. Even before He is born, Jesus’ presence brings joy to the people.

The reason why mothers have a very glorious dignity because Jesus had deemed it worthy to be born, formed and loved by a mother. All mothers are special before God. But His mother, despite her privileged calling of being the mother of Jesus, Mary was not something outstanding beauty nor some prominent matron of the Nazareth Women’s Club. For thirty years she did what every mother did: she cooked, cleaned the house, washed the clothes, worked in the garden and carried water and firewood.

From all aspects she was an ordinary woman and yet she is honored as the Queen of heaven and earth. She is conceived without sin and the perfect woman. Why? Because in the eyes of God, the type of the work or position we occupy has no special value. One kind of job is just as good as another. What really matters in the eyes of God is why we do the work. Mary did it for only one thing – to be of service to her Son Jesus Christ. Though her work was ordinary, she did it in extraordinary way. She did it in a humble way. I salute Mama Mary and I am happy to offer her a ROSE because of her dedication and love for the Lord.

This happiness of mine, I must share with you because a Christian is a joyful person. Joy is an essential mark of Christianity and a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit in us. If we are not joyful, then, we are not truly good Christians. We may be even committing sins of lack of faith and confidence in God and also, it discourages others.

This joy, as what I had said, must be shared. If it is shared, it becomes a double joy. Like for example, if I am going to share my joy to others, others may become happy and the joy still remains in me. A joyful person contaminates others. If we are joyful, many would say, “ I like him/her because he has a smiling face. But, what is the way in order to become a joyful person? How can I be joyful when I have a headache or when I have just received a bad news or insulted or hurt? When my girlfriend/boyfriend broke me up? Is it a joy when we always smile and attend parties, drinking sessions, gatherings, etc.? This is just a shallow joy because it would stay for a while and disappear later.

To make our joy authentic, it must be something deeper than those types of joy we encounter everyday. For me, real joy can be found only in His very presence in our midst, His presence in creation, in the sacraments and in other people. His presence can bring peace where there is anxiety, sharing where there is selfishness and dreams where there is despair. In other words, it’s grace to give joy to others just like what Mother Mary did to St. Elizabeth.

There are only three names of women that I would like for you to always remember: Rose, Grace and Joy. As Isaac Watts had said and he is right when he composed the song ‘Joy to the World.’ Indeed, there is real joy during Christmas time because the Lord has come. He is Emmanuel – God is with us.

See Today’s Readings:  Cycle C

OPTION  01,   02,   03,   04,

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