4th Sunday of Advent 2023
Jesus Light of the World Parish
Gospel of Luke 1, 26-38
December 24, 2023
Our Advent journey ends with this very short 4th “week” of just a few hours. The Gospel of Saint Luke relates the magnificent story of the Annunciation which ends with:
Mary says, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38)
Mary by her yes, by her fiat, offers her whole being, body, soul, and spirit, to her Lord with these words. She does not hesitate, she does not take the time to think, it is truly a cry from Marie’s heart. Through her yes, Mary becomes the mother and the disciple of our Lord. Without hesitation, Mary puts herself in the service of the Lord by going in haste (Lk 1, 39) to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is also pregnant, a sign given to both that nothing is impossible with God (Lk 1, 36).
With discretion and humility, Saint Therese lived like Mary a life entirely devoted to the Lord. In our spiritual journey, let us not hesitate to follow the example of the “little way” of Saint Thérèse with the help of Mary.
Therese practised charity in littleness, in the simplest things of daily life, and she did so in the company of the Virgin Mary, from whom she learned that “to love is to give everything. It’s to give oneself”. While preachers in those days often celebrated Mary’s grandeur in ways that made her seem far removed from us, Therese showed, starting with the Gospel, that Mary is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven because she is the least (cf. Mt 18:4), the one closest to Jesus in his abasement. […] The Gospels show us a lowly and poor life lived in the simplicity of faith. Jesus himself wanted Mary to be the example of a soul that seeks him with a simple faith. Mary was the first to experience the “little way” in pure faith and humility. Consequently, Therese did not hesitate to write:
“Mother full of grace, I know that in Nazareth
You live in poverty, wanting nothing more.
No rapture, miracle or ecstasy
Embellish your life, O Queen of the Elect!…
The number of little ones on earth is truly great.
They can raise their eyes to you without trembling.
It’s by the ordinary way, incomparable Mother,
That you like to walk to guide them to heaven”(1)
Questions to ponder
The Church in its pedagogy offered us a 4-week approach to prepare us for Christmas, an approach where joy shines through from beginning to the end. First, saint Mark in his Gospel exhorts us to stay awake, to live with joy the waiting of the master of the house who will come. Then Saint John the Baptist calls us to convert, to live in joyful and active expectation while awaiting the coming of the Messiah. What joy will we have when we are converted and reconciled with the Lord! Finally, like a crescendo, joy overflows in all these characters from the Scriptures of the 3rd Sunday: Isaiah, Mary, Paul, and John the Baptist, because they know they are loved by God. Today, Mary communicates to us her joy of giving herself to her Lord. And Saint Therese, our guide, discovered true joy in God. This joy is only possible if we trust God completely.
Let us be joyful and celebrate Christmas, the coming of the Child Jesus, the Child God who lowered himself to us. Let’s spend time at the manger, ours and the one at our church, then let us adore this newborn with rapture. Lastly, let us make Mary’s words our own: “Lord, my love, I am all Yours, let it be done to me according to Your will.”
Merry Christmas! May the Lord fill us and our loved ones with his graces in this blessed time!