Ephesians 4:7-16
Luke 13: 1-9


Today’s Gospel takes us to the encounter of Elizabeth and Mary. The trip from Nazareth to Ein Karim, where Elizabeth lived, was a difficult and dangerous one through the desert. It is the same trip that Mary and Joseph make again a few months later to be in Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus. Mary’s words in the beautiful prayer of the Magnificat don’t dwell on the difficult journey but rather on the deeds of God. They are said in response to Elizabeth’s recognition of Mary’s own pregnancy: “Blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.” Mary’s response is prayed each evening as part of the Evening Prayer of the Church, and it signals the change that the Messiah will bring into the lives of all who believe.

Christmas is but the beginning of this journey of faith. Anyone who has ever held a new-born baby in their arms knows the overwhelming feeling of a miracle. This tiny creature must be from God; who else has the vision, creativity, and love to create such a masterpiece? Mary puts all this in perspective as she praises God, not for the babies yet to come, but for the call to be servants of this love and mission. These two babies, John, and Jesus will live difficult lives and die terrible deaths, but Mary calls us to see God’s hand in all that happens. May we see the miracles of Christmas and live the life of service it calls us to.

Margaret Bentley is a Salesian Sister and is currently the Academic Manager at the English Language Studies for Pastoral Ministry (ELSPM) begun by the Passionists in 2014 to enable their students to learn English before continuing to the Novitiate or theological studies.