Scripture Reading: Luke 1:39-45

On this last Sunday before Christmas, our attention is drawn to the ministry of John the Baptist to the events that preceded John the Baptist’s birth. The story of John the Baptist and his parents, Elizabeth and Zechariah, are reported only in Luke’s Gospel. Luke pairs the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus, establishing John’s early connection to the Messiah. In Luke’s Gospel, the Holy Spirit helps reveal Jesus’ identity as God to those who believe. Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit and sings Mary’s praise because she bears the Lord. We sing these words of praise to Mary in the Hail Mary. Even John the Baptist, the unborn child in Elizabeth’s womb, is said to recognize the presence of the Lord and leaps for joy.

Do you recognize the indwelling presence of the Lord Jesus in your life?  Blessed are you if you see and recognize the Lord with the “eyes of faith”. The word “blessed” [makarios in Greek] literally means “happiness” or “beatitude”. It describes a kind of joy that is serene and untouchable, self-contained, and independent from chance and changing circumstances of life.  There is a certain paradox for those “blessed” by the Lord.  Mary was given the “blessedness” of being the mother of the Son of God.  That blessedness also would become a sword that pierced her heart as her Son died upon the Cross.  St. Anselm, a great teacher and Archbishop of Canterbury (1033-1109), spoke these words in a homily: “WITHOUT GOD’S SON NOTHING COULD EXIST; WITHOUT MARY’S SON, NOTHING COULD BE REDEEMED.”  To be chosen by God is an awesome privilege and responsibility.  Mary received both a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow. Her joy was not diminished by her sorrow because it was fueled by her faith, hope, and trust in God and His promises.  Jesus promised His disciples that “no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22).  The Lord gives us a supernatural joy that enables us to bear any sorrow or pain and which neither life nor death can take away. Do you know the joy of a life given over to God in faith and trust?

Beloved, the Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us to enable us to know and experience the indwelling presence of God and the power of His kingdom. The Holy Spirit is how God reigns within each of us. Do you live in the joy and knowledge of God’s indwelling presence with you through His Holy Spirit?

MASS:  VIOLET: Micah 5:2-5a; Ps 80:2ac and 3b, 15-16a, 18-19 (R.4); Heb. 10:5-10; Accl: Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord: let it be to me according to your word; Gospel  Lk 1:39-45

Prayer Point:

               1.            “Lord, fill me with Your Holy Spirit and give me joy in seeking You more closely. Increase my faith in all Your promises, my hope in the joys of heaven, and my love for You as my All.” Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for joy unending that comes from lingering long in Your presence and then remembering Your presence all day long.

Exercise: Pray with Psalm 71:19-24

Meditation: Psalm 16:5-11