Lk 1:39-45 The Visit
Last night was a resounding success. We had many parishioners and non-parishioners attend our Advent penitential service. Over four hundred came to see, hear and feel the love, mercy and compassion of God our Father. Although it took forever to go through the line and to hear so many confessions, it was blessing upon blessing. Some had not been to Confession in a few months; many others had not gone in a few years. Some, a few, had not been to Confession in decades! Last night, I am sure the Lord blessed each and every one of them with his presence, patience and love.
Mary set out. Once Mary received the call from the angel, she immediately set out to see her cousin Elizabeth. She immediately set out to share the Good News. As I have mentioned before, the Lord wants us to evangelize all – even those who have been touched by a miracle. The Good News is not something that is reserved for a few. It is for all! We all need Good News. We all need it now! What did Mary share with her cousin if not but the beautiful, wonderful things that the Lord had done for her? Is this not the meaning of evangelization? To share with the world the wonderful things that God has done in our lives? Today is beautiful. Tomorrow may not be so beautiful. “Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song” (Ps 33: 1a,3a). Our lives are changed and transformed with tears of joy and tears of pain. Both are essential ingredients for bringing about an interior conversion of heart, soul and mind. We don’t see the pains of sorrow, but they will come. Mary knew this all too quickly. I have learned that a tremendous blessing from the Lord is usually followed by tremendous pain or vice versa. We only appreciate how far we have come when we look back and see how far we had fallen.
Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed. The wayward, the estranged, the rebellious, the fallen have a mansion awaiting them courtesy of the Lord. The Catholic Church is the only institution in the world that does not kick its fallen away members out, but rather invites them to come back home – even when they have broken all the rules or commandments! The Catholic Church is beautiful, in my opinion, because instead of asking you to get out, she prefers to help you out. The Confession is one way of helping out a soul to come back home.
Blessed are you who believed. God is very realistic. He knows each of us by name. His grace does not operate on fictional characters. No. His grace operates on real people – on you and me. What a difference between man and God! Man’s best friend is a dog only because it does what we tell it to do and does not often complain. Whereas God’s best friend is man, who does the complete opposite and complains all the time! We love to block the Holy Spirit’s action because we have a hard time accepting who we are. The miracles begin when we can finally accept, admit who we are and allow the Holy Spirit to change us for the better! Blessed are you who believed!
This Advent let us set out like Mary, who accepted the message of the angel, who set out to spread the Good News, and who accepted the lead role in the Lord’s incredible plan of salvation. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary’s life changed, our lives changed and world history changed forever.
Reflect on the power of the Holy Spirit. Ask yourself what changed in your life once you accepted the Lord into your life. I am sure a lot did!