The Gospel Today
Saturday of the Third Week of Advent
Mary set out in those days
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”
Reflection (Sem. Ramon Jamora, Jr.)
“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
I believe that these words of Elizabeth to Mary are the human term of how it is to be blessed – listening, believing, and obeying God’s will. Let us simply put it this way, Mary listened to God’s message through the Angel Gabriel, believed that she will bear a child through the Holy Spirit, and, because of her obedience, accepted the mission to become the mother of our Lord, Jesus.
The process of listening, believing, and obeying seems parallel or the same as discernment, an Ignatian spiritual exercise. The discipline of discernment is a helpful tool in knowing the will of God. It is a prayerful way of making a decision and acting upon this decision. The process always involves in choosing between two ‘goods’. Which from among the two would bring me closer to God? Whatever the situation may be, the result or the end should always be to please, to serve, and to reverence God. The discernment process does not end with the immediate result but must consistently bring us to God. I believe that the more we submit ourselves to discernment; we are allowing ourselves to establish an intimate relationship with God.
The blessedness of Mary was not because of her but because of the will of God in her life. She submitted herself to discernment and totally entrusted everything to God. I believe that all of us are called to a life of blessedness. As we listen to God in our prayer, God will lead us to choose the best way to praise and serve Him that will bring us closer to Him. Perhaps, at this moment, we have some questions in life or may be decisions to make. I pray that we choose to trust God to lead us to what is best for us. Like Mary, we are always blessed, if we listen, believe, and allow the Lord to work in our lives.