December 20, 2015
Fourth Sunday of Advent
In proclaiming the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis proclaimed his desire that this Holy Year be “steeped in mercy,” as we disciples “go out to every man and woman,” bringing the “balm of mercy” to “believers and those far away, as a sign that the Kingdom of God is already present in our midst!” (Misericordiae Vultus, 5). In her visitation of Elizabeth, Mary beautifully presents just such an image. Despite the perils of her pregnancy, not to mention her preoccupations as a young unwed mother, Mary instantly, unselfishly, “goes out” of herself, hastening far and over dangerous terrain, to “bring the balm of God’s tender mercy” in assistance rendered to her older relative. Since baptism and the Eucharist have made us, in a way, bearers of the living Christ within as Mary was, such selfless “going out” of ourselves to be of loving service to others in mercy should especially mark our Christmas season this Jubilee Year.