Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 22-23, 2018
From Fr. Anthony Ligato
Let us take Jesus with us wherever we go!
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
There will be a great deal of visiting in the coming days as we celebrate Christmas with family and friends. In most situations we look forward to visiting with family and friends who we only see maybe a few times a year. But in some situations, it may be awkward. We may not have much in common with some of our relatives and thus we don’t know what to say. There may be family problems that are unspoken and thus unresolved which cause tension, and so everyone sits there talking about nothing. That is difficult work which can be painful. It can be the same experience when someone is sick or dying, we never know what to say. We forget that our visiting those who are sick or dying speaks volumes, because our presence alone can be a comfort. The awkwardness is also felt when someone dies, what do we say that can be a comfort? In trying to help we can feel totally inadequate. Believe it or not as priests we feel like that ourselves in these types of situations, what do we say? I learned early on better to say nothing and rather show our concern by doing. I learned that lesson from a young boy suffering from Leukemia who I was visiting in the hospital. I went in thinking I was going to have a meaningful visit; he on the other hand had different plans. He was playing his video game and was not going to stop because a priest came in to visit. After a few questions and a try at a conversion it only met with a grunt or a shrug of his shoulders, I decided to watch him play his video game. I learned from that boy it is not talking that matters so much, it is being there that counts.
When our Blessed Mother Mary goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth, she does not know how she is going to be received. After all there may be questions why Mary is so far along in her pregnancy in reference to marriage with Joseph. Mary knew from the Angel Gabriel that Elizabeth was pregnant and that these two pregnancies had something to do with each other. “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your
womb.” (Luke 1:3945) That greeting on the part of Elizabeth relaxed any tension that might have existed for Mary. For us, it is Jesus Christ himself that takes away any awkwardness and tension that may exist in our lives or even on the occasions when we are visiting with others and haven’t any idea what to say or do. What we need to do is pray before we enter these types of moments, so that when we visit, we are not filled with anxiety but rather that we remember the words of St. Paul, “We have been consecrated through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.” When we visit, we take Christ with us and when Christ is with us just as he was with our Blessed Mother in the womb, there is never an awkward moment to our visits only opportunities to make Jesus visible to others. I want to offer Christ’s Blessing for you all to have a Joyous and Merry Christmas,
Yours in Christ,