December 23, 2019

Advent Reflections:

As we approach these last few days of Advent in preparation for the birth of our Blessed Lord, let us reflect on the Gospel that Holy Mother Church gives to her faithful on this Fourth Sunday of Advent. Elizabeth is visited by the Blessed Virgin after the Annunciation, which was the moment at which God assumed a human nature and was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, a solemn feast which is celebrated by the Church nine months prior to Christmas on March 25. This visit is characterized by the joy of the presence of Mary and her Divine Son in utero, a joy which even causes St. John the Baptist to leap in the womb of his mother. Why is there this joy, a joy so powerful it even penetrates to the interior of Elizabeth, into her very womb? This question is answered in reference to the ritual and liturgical life of the Church because, indeed, the celebration of the birth of our Lord culminates in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Thus, it is the Mass, which is primarily and at its core the sacramental re-presentation (the making present again in a sacramental way) of the one historic sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary for our salvation, which gives intelligibility to Christmas. What is that intelligibility? It is the end to which Christmas is ordered: the grace and salvation wrought in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, which we actually, truly, and really participate in every time we attend Mass. Thus, the joy of the incarnation, the same joy that Elizabeth and St. John the Baptist experienced, the joy of Christmas, wherein humanity finally sees the incarnate Lord, finds intelligibility in the salvific cross, in which we directly participate in the offering of the Eucharist at Mass. Therefore, in seeking a Christ-centered Christmas and, indeed, a Christ-centered life, one must recognize the necessity of a Eucharist-centered Christmas and life, since the Eucharist is our earthly means of participation in Christ’s saving and sacrificial act, the very reason for Christmas and our joy at the birth of our Lord. Let us flock to the Eucharist this Christmas, let us ensure we are prepared to receive our Lord in Holy Communion through the Sacrament of Confession, and let us rejoice like Elizabeth and St. John the Baptist, praising God and imitating our Lady according to the words of Elizabeth in the Gospel: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

Father Scott’s Helper

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