December 6, 2015

Theotokos: Sunday of the Second Week of Advent

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Theotokos: Sunday of the 2nd Week of Advent

“Mary set out in hast” (Luke 1:39)

Mary has just learned she is pregnant for the Savior of the world. To the naked eye, her pregnancy is unplanned, unexpected, and unthinkable in Jewish culture. Mosaic Law had rules on how to handle such situations—death by stoning. Mary is a young teenager, and now she’s pregnant.

So, what does Mary do? Sit down and talk things out with her parents? No. Talk to Joseph about what they’re going to do?  No.  Mary, filled with the Holy Spirit, set out in haste for the hill country of Judah.

Mary has also learned that her revered relative Elizabeth is also pregnant. So the 130-mile journey, south of Jerusalem, didn’t take Mary to Judah, it took her to Elizabeth. The Greek expression for haste denotes a driven diligence much like in 2nd Peter 1:5 and Jude 1:3. Elizabeth is pregnant and needs help. Mary has a driven diligence in her haste, for she wants to be present to Elizabeth.

There is a difference between presents and presence. Sure, the words sound the same, but we all know they are completely different. Although Mary had a lot on her mind, she wanted to be present to Elizabeth. Mary wanted to be there because Mary wanted to be there.

With a frenzied pace driving our lives it is hard to “be where you’re at.” We can be with people, but because of our own haste, often times it’s hard to be present to the people we’re with. As the secular Christmas season demands more of us, our haste increases. We have more presents, but we have less presence.

Today, be present to people, not haste. Today “be where you’re at.” Focus on people. Focus on presence. Focus on God’s presence.

For your prayer

Mary would have often prayed with Psalm 127. Prep your imaginative prayer by slowly reading Psalm 127. Use your spiritual senses and imaginatively pray with Mary in Luke 1:39.

“Jesus, I ask for the grace today to grow in my relationship with you.  I give you permission to enter into my heart—all of my heart.”

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© Fr. Mark Toups, 2015