Mi 5:1-4a; Heb 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45.

Turning Over Stones

Here are some stones I have overturned to see what ideas are underneath. I hope you can grab hold of something, pull -- and discover that it has some homiletic roots.

And how is it that the mother of the Lord should come to me?

This is the question that Elizabeth asks Mary upon her arrival and it is also the question that has been at the center of my reflection and prayer this week.

This is the first time we have heard the name -- Mary -- in any of our readings during these four Sundays of Advent. One could say that it is this Sunday that Mary arrives in our season of Advent. Although the above question that Elizabeth asks is simply a way of conveying her utter surprise this question can take on a very different tone in our lives today.

What if one considers this question -- And how is it that the mother of the Lord should come to me? -- in a more literal sense. That is, in what way, in what mode, in what manner does the mother of our Lord come to me? What role does Mary play in my life? Where does she reside in my life? What significance does she have in my life? What is my relationship with her? In short, how is it that the mother of our Lord comes to me?

Why is this question important? It is important because it was by no coincidence that Mary was singled out by God to bring out savior into the world. To say she was special is an understatement. To say she was blessed even seems inadequate. And, we know from our daily living that we can be best influenced, best motivated, best challenged, and best inspired by people with whom we are in relationship.

Further the answer to the above question is a personal one. It varies from person to person. Therefore one asks -- How is it that the mother of the Lord comes to ME?

The Church gives us lots of possibilities. Mary comes as Chosen Daughter of Israel, Mother of our Savior, Disciple of the Lord, Mother of Reconciliation, Fountain of Light and Life, Lady of the Cenacle, Queen of Apostles, Temple of the Lord, Seat of Wisdom, Image and Mother of the Church, Queen of All Creation, Mother and Mediatrix of Grace, Fountain of Salvation, Mother and Teacher of the Spirit, Mother of Good Counsel, Cause of our Joy, Pillar of Faith, Mother of Fairest Love, Mother of Divine Hope, Mother of Unity, Queen and Mother of Mercy, Mother of Divine Providence, Mother of Consolation, Help of Christians, Health of the Sick and Gate of Heaven to name a few.

For some Mary is the mother they never had. For some Mary is a mother modeled after their own mother. For mothers who have lost children to death Mary is a sympathetic confidant. For those who long to be made humble instruments of God, Mary is a model. For those who long to be protected, nurtured, held, and comforted, Mary is a loving mother.

For millions of people each day Mary is Our Lady of the Rosary.

In our spiritual journeys we know that our image and relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit should evolve and mature over our lifetimes. The image we had of God has changed since our First Communion. So too has our image of Mary evolved.

Nevertheless, spiritual journeys can also hit dry spells, lose fire, and wander waywardly. Images can become blurred if not lost altogether. Relationships break down.

There are moments that present ideal times to consider a new start -- a reawakening. Perhaps this last Sunday of Advent is that ideal time to start anew; for we start at the beginning.

How is it that the mother of our Lord should come to me?

She comes lovingly carrying our Savior. Her YES to God has changed the world. Let us leap with joy with John the Baptist.

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