By Love's Hand

By Love's Hand

Fierce  Female Network And The We’73 Project

Vol 5 Apr 2024

Advent Homily – By Deacon Richard Benkovic

Column Maddie and the Deacon

Growing up I remember watching a cartoon show that featured a dog and his pet boy, their names were Dr. Peabody and Sherman. And they had this machine that could transport them back in time it was called the Way-back Machine. So let’s go back over 200 years to the year 1809. It was a period of history not greatly different from our own time. Military might was the dominant theme of the day. Napoleon and his armies seemed destined to rule the world. Their battles made the headlines of all the newspapers. And most people thought that these really were the most important events of the time.

But some other events took place in the year 1809 that never made the newspaper headlines and very few people noticed them. In that year Charles Darwin was born. As a result of his research, the thinking of the entire scientific world was reshaped. In that year Abraham Lincoln was born and his courage lead the United States in the darkest moments of its history. In that year, Cyrus McCormick was born and his invention changed the way the world harvest its crops. In that year Alfred Tennyson, Edgar Allen Poe and Oliver Wendell Homes were born, and their writings still inspire the minds of millions.

In a word, that year, 1809, was not known for its important battles, but rather for the babies that were born.

Let us use the Way-back Machine and go back a little more than 2000 years, when the armies of Caesar marched across the face of the known world and the people paid attention to this. No one really thought that the really important events of that time were taking place in the quiet and forgotten hills of Judea. Soon Elizabeth would give birth to a child and call him John and her cousin Mary would give birth to a child and call him Jesus. And those two men would literally reshape the thinking of the entire world.

But before these two important births we hear in today’s Gospel the story of Mary visiting with Elizabeth. Now Mary traveled in haste to the hill country. One does not travel slowly when filled with the Holy Spirit. The Lord’s presence is made clear for as soon as Elizabeth hears Mary’s greeting the child leapt in her womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Notice the contrast and the choice of words. Elizabeth is the first to hear Mary’s voice, but John is the first to be aware of her grace. She hears with the ears of the body, but he leaps for joy at the meaning of the mystery. She is aware of Mary’s presence but he is aware of the Lord’s. Elizabeth speaks of the grace they have received while John is aware of the pledge of our salvation.

When John leaps for joy Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit, but we know that though Mary’s spirit rejoices she does not need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Her son, who is beyond our understanding, is active in his mother in a way beyond our understanding. Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit after conceiving John, while Mary is filled with the Holy Spirit before conceiving the Lord. Elizabeth says: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” We are also blessed because we have heard and believed. A soul that believes both conceives and brings forth the Word of God and acknowledges his works.

Let Mary’s soul be in each of us so we too can proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Let Mary’s spirit be in each of us so we too can rejoice in the Lord. Jesus has only one mother in the flesh, but we all bring forth Christ in our faith, if we remain pure and free from sin. And if we are faithful to God then we too can proclaim the greatness of the Lord, just as Mary’s soul magnified the Lord and her spirit rejoiced in God her Savior. 

One Comment

  1. Mary teaches us all that her son is the truth and the light.

    Though our belief in him we are saved and are given forgiveness for our sins.

    When we are filled with the Holy Spirit as Mary was when she visited her cousin Elizabeth we too can recognize through belief in Our Savior the greatness of God’s Kingdom.

    The Deacon has made the call what will our response be?

    Mine will be to imitate The Blessed Mother and by her example by following Jesus!

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