Today’s Gospel features the meeting of two women. Specifically, two pregnant women. Elizabeth was too old and was probably waiting for her time to die when she received news that she was pregnant. In this particular meeting, she was 6 months on the way and just came out of her 5-month self-imposed exile. The other woman was Mary, a young lass who just learned a few days ago that she was impregnated by the Holy Spirit before her wedding to Joseph, her fiance. The Gospel says that Mary, a few days after seeing angel Gabriel, hurried to the hill country of Judea to meet with Elizabeth, her relative who was blessed too.
Both women were understandably overwhelmed during this meeting for many many reasons. Elizabeth felt the stirring of her son inside her womb upon meeting Mary who still had a flat belly by then. Both of them might have been too chatty with excitement and still processing the idea of 1) an angel appearing before Mary; 2) an immaculate conception and; 3) the pregnancy of a barren old woman. Mary seeing a wrinkled lola oh so very pregnant must be wide eyed. By then both of them must be glowing from the full realization of being vessels of miracles and probably speculating about the future of these two children being formed inside of them.
Along with their husbands, these two women were part of a team who were recruited by the angel Gabriel to fulfill a mission: to raise two men who will change the world. The first one, John, became a convincing preacher who stirred the hearts of people to acknowledge their sins and live a life pleasing to God. The other one, Jesus, grew up to be a teacher, a healer and eventually a savior. John was beheaded and Jesus was crucified. Both fulfilled their life’s purpose. The whole team accomplished their mission.
The Gospel today makes me wonder about the bigger picture of our birth, of our lives, of our death. Are we part of a special team with a special mission too? Rizal, Bonifacio and other local martyrs that included courageous & loving women & mothers were all part of a special mission that only became apparent at a certain point in their lives and in the country’s socio-political context. Some members of the team were asked to do extra ordinary things outside of their comfort zones but all of them were called to use their natural talents, their passion, their resources and their roles in society.
Mary, Elizabeth and the mothers of our local martyrs along with their husbands contributed to changing the world by being parents: feeding the children, giving them baths, teaching them the difference between good and bad, disciplining them etc. The men and women that these children came to be were also called to make a difference using their inherent talents and leadership capacities.
Christmas is a story not only of one person but about several people who believed that their lives were meant for greater things anchored on their commitment to be of service to God and His/Her plans for the world. The blessings they received were blessings that equipped them not for selfish ambition but as supplies or provisions for them to fulfill the mission of God. And as we seek God’s blessing let us reflect on how we intend to use these blessings to fulfill God’s purpose and be reminded of what Elizabeth said to Mary: “You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.” (v.45 NLT).
Lord, we submit our lives to you. Guide us in understanding our part in your plans for the world. Help us to be sensitive and responsive to your prompting. Bless us accordingly. Amen.
Written by: Red Macalalad