Week of December 23, 2012

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Christmas is just around the corner and children are getting more and more excited.  We sense that same kind of excitement in today’s Gospel when Luke tells the story of Mary visiting Elizabeth.  Christ is near and John the Baptist leaps in the womb for joy.  This story is only told in the Gospel of Luke.  In his reflection on today’s Gospel Fr. Karban says,

“Each Gospel writer is unique.  Each has a specific theme and a distinct theology, and each often employs catchphrases to convey them.  Luke, for instance, believes it’s essential that his readers know and imitate the qualities of a true disciple of Jesus.  Such a disciple is always anxious not only to surface God’s word but to do what’s necessary to make that word a reality in his or her life.  In an uncomplicated way, Luke points out how Jesus’ mother, Mary, completely fills that role:  She’s the perfect Christian.

Mary is not important for Luke because Jesus is her son, but because she actually does what Jesus expects all his followers to do:  hear God’s word and carry it out…Something big is about to happen because Mary is carrying out God’s word, and John will be a part of it.”

Fr. Karban goes on to tell how difficult it can be to carry out God’s word by telling of an experience during a workshop he attended on values.

“Years ago, during the workshop on values, the speaker asked us to draw a line down the middle of a blank sheet of paper.  On the left side of the line we were to make a list of 10 things we held as important in our lives.  Certainly not a hard assignment.  But then he sprang the trap.  On the right side, we were to list the last time we actually did any of the things we put on the left side.  I was more than surprised.  I was ashamed.

That little exercise proved that having certain praiseworthy values is no guarantee I’ll act on them.”

When we carry out God’s word something big begins to happen in us.  Who would have ever predicted that by generously giving yourself to others, as Jesus did, you would actually experience a deeper more fulfilling life than anything you’d experienced before?  You would think that life comes from receiving, not giving.  Yet, the opposite happened when Jesus’ first disciples began to imitate his actions.

This Christ child who was born all those years ago is still the one we are called to imitate.  When we do, we will discover the joy that caused John the Baptist leap in his mother’s womb.

I pray that you have a most blessed Christmas.

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