One day as Jesus was speaking, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said, “Happy is the womb that bore you and the breasts you sucked.” And Jesus replied, “Still happier those who hear the word of God and keep it” – Lk 11: 27-28. Mary was the happiest and most fulfilled of all, for she ‘heard’ the word of God, God’s request of her to become the mother of him who would be called Son of God. She heard God’s word, took it on board and coaxed it to human and divine life in her body. Mary is the listener par excellence to God’s word.

The 14th century Dominican, Meister Eckhart, offers this insight: “If anyone were to ask me, Why do we pray, Why do we fast, Why do we do all our works, Why are we baptised, Why did God become incarnate? – I would answer: In order that God may be born in the soul, and the soul be born in God. For that reason all the Holy Scriptures were written; for that reason God created the world. So that God may be born in the soul and the soul be born in God.”

We are told that the angels of the nativity visited the shepherds on the hillside. They were ‘persona non grata’ in society – wandering opportunistic thieves. The first words from the angelic lips – you have nothing to fear – was reassuring. God is here and he is offering not punishment but peace, shalom…. When the shepherds visited the child and its parents their lives were changed, transformed, and they went back glorifying and praising God – Lk 2: 20.

Mary, treasured and pondered these things in her heart. Because the angel’s message was confirmed by signs such as the witness of the shepherds, Mary knew that this child represented not only a shift in her own maternal universe but also in the whole web of the universe itself. Three visitors from the east, guided by a star in the heavens, would arrive at Bethlehem and offer homage to her new born infant – Matt 2: 1-6.

Fr. QQ – 12/29/2022

The gospel message is a recall to reality, revealed as a mystery of forgiveness.                                                                                                                                                                                  – Sebastian Moore

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