Mary set out
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,
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
by Father Greg Friedman, OFM
Christmas is often a time for different generations in a family to come together. Grandparents delight in sharing Christmas memories with the youngest family members. On our Christmas tree we hang both new and old ornaments. Our celebrations this year usually prompt us to remember the Christmases long past.
Today’s Liturgy of the Word offers us a meeting between old and new. In our Gospel, the Old Covenant–represented by Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist–meets the New Covenant– symbolized by Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Our second reading, from the Letter to the Hebrews presents Jesus, whose sacrificial death on the cross replaces the sacrifices of the old law.
God’s promise to shepherd his flock spans both the old and the new covenants, as our first reading tells us. The birth of the shepherd-Messiah from the line of David will fulfill ancient promises and usher in an age of peace.
Such fulfillment–such peace, is what both old and young long for as we gather to celebrate Christmas this season. Perhaps the Christmas celebrations in our families might have room for some time of prayer and storytelling which would allow for those hopes to be voiced. For we celebrate the birth of the One who personifies peace: Jesus Christ, born into our world to fulfill the ancient longings of the human family.
by Father Dan Kroger, OFM
- In the first reading, Micah tells the people of little old Bethlehem that one who will rule Israel will come from their place. Is that surprising?
Will this one who is coming be able to shepherd his flock? Why? With whose strength will the coming ruler of Israel be so strong?
- The Letter to the Hebrews says some things about Christ when he came into the world. What does the letter tell us about Christ?
What is the offering made “once and for all” that consecrates us to God?
- The Gospel reading talks about how Mary traveled to see Elizabeth. Why did she go there? Was Elizabeth some sort of a sign from God given to Mary?
Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and cried out in a loud voice. What did Elizabeth say to Mary?
Why is Mary blessed by God according to Elizabeth?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
- Christmas can be a great time to catch up with people we haven’t seen in a while. Try to find some time to either call, write, or make plans with someone you haven’t seen in a while.
- While she was pregnant, Mary went to visit Elizabeth. What did your mom do while she was pregnant? Ask her to tell you about her journey while carrying you.