Where is My Trust in the Holy Spirit
Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent. The gospel reading tells the story of Mary running to visit Elizabeth shortly after her encounter with the Angel Gabriel in which he revealed that Mary would conceive and give birth to Jesus. Mary’s entry into Elizabeth’s home prompts Elizabeth to becomes filled with the Holy Spirit. She says to Mary, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”
Elizabeth is delighted to see Mary and greets her with joy and open arms. Mary is clearly welcomed in Elizabeth’s home. But what about Mary? It seems implausible in some respects to think that Elizabeth could balk at Mary’s arrival or that Mary could be scared. I’ve grown older knowing the story of Mary as relayed to me through my experience in Catholic schools, catechism classes and church. I tend to forget to imagine Mary as human. I would have to think this was a scary time for Mary. She’s just been told she will become pregnant out of wedlock and give birth to a baby boy. She will most certainly be shamed and treated as an outcast in her community. However, Elizabeth’s welcome provides comfort for Mary in an otherwise uneasy time in her life.
What would have happened to Mary’s spirit if Elizabeth had doubted her; or if Elizabeth was too worried about what others would think should they see the pregnant, unwed mother visiting her home? What would have happened to Mary if Elizabeth had rejected her and asked her to leave?
Who in my life today am I neglecting because I am too scared of what others might think? Am I acting out of love, recognizing that we are all God’s children; or out of fear, worried only about myself and my own position in the community?
Mike Kelly is Assistant Principal for Student Life. He and his wife, Megan, are parents to Declan `18, Bevin `21, Liam (11),
and Rowan (9).