Divine Plan

12-19-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Bing Colasito

The last Sunday of Advent Gospel before Christmas describes the scene of the 2nd Joyful Mystery, The Visitation. Elizabeth seeing her cousin, blessed with the gift of knowing Mary’s motherhood of the Son of God: cries in a loud voice: Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. (Lk. 1:41-42) She should not have been able to proclaim this event; because she does not fully comprehend what happened. The Holy Spirit fills Elizabeth’s heart with joy; the nearness of the baby in the womb of Mary made it possible for the child in her womb to leap for joy at the presence of the mother of God.

Focusing on the Blessed Mother, the mother of Jesus, we can say that she is the closest to the cause of salvation. And probably also to the mystery of God’s plan for humanity. The Old Testament Scriptures contain many allusions to the Messiah. But nobody, including Mary herself, could have imagined how God would fulfill His promise. The Divine Plan of Salvation is too great or magnificent to comprehend; it is a mystery – and still is. Although the prophets made allusions to the coming of the Messiah, they are just a glimpse of the whole plan of God. It’s noteworthy that in this plan, the Virgin Mary, the blessed among women, plays a significant role in the grand scheme of salvation.

The book of the prophet Micah did not know the exact time when the Messiah would come. Looking into the future, he prophesied of the mother of the Messiah: She who is to give birth has borne. Elizabeth recognizes Mary as the mother of the Lord. The prophet Micah identifies the little town of Bethlehem, too small among the clans of Judah - as the birthplace of the Messiah. It is also the birthplace of King David, the lowly shepherd who became Israel’s greatest king. The prophet foresees the coming of a new King in the Davidic lineage – the greatest shepherd-king: He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock by the strength of the LORD.

The Gospel pictures Mary traveling in haste to the countryside of Judah to visit her cousin Elizabeth. The rush was not necessarily because of any pressure or obligation. Mary’s haste comes from the joy in her heart after the events of the Annunciation: the prophecies of the Old Testament are happening; God’s divine plan is unfolding, and she plays a significant role in this plan.

It is holy haste filled with obedience, humility, and trust in something or someone greater. A gentle reminder to all of us, myself included, to avoid the unnecessary haste in the preparations, the obligations, and the deadlines associated with the Christmas season. While writing this reflection, I realized the stress of meeting all the deadlines for submitting reflections for Advent and the Christmas season that are unnecessary pressure at the risk of forgetting the real reason for Christmas. When we allow Christmas to become an agendum or a function, we reduce its meaning and value; and the inner satisfaction we get from it. Remember: Christmas is about a person, about relationships and missions. It is something that gives so much joy, fulfillment, and meaning. Christmas is all about life, about the Baby Jesus. Christmas is about submitting to the divine plan or seeing the bigger picture in God’s plan.