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December 21, 2018: Late Advent Weekday

Reading Song of Songs 2:8-14
Gospel Luke 1:39-45

“Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”

Today our Scriptures present two different responses to the coming of the Lord. Both are worthy of our reflection and imitation, although they are very different from each other.

The First Reading is from the Old Testament book Song of Songs. This book is highly poetic in nature, and as such, is open to many interpretations. The Church sees in the words of today’s passage a loving longing for the Messiah. It’s the loving nature of this expression of waiting that sets the book apart from most of the Old Testament’s descriptions of waiting for the Messiah.

This book’s insight into the nature of the Messiah and His reason for coming raise it above much of the Old Testament’s desire for earthly security. This book foreshadows the truth of God being love, proclaimed by St. John in his New Testament epistles, from which we will hear during the Christmas Season.

Today’s Gospel passage offers us Elizabeth’s response to the Messiah, borne as He is by His Mother. The praise that Elizabeth bestows on her cousin is woven amidst her praise of her Lord. Three times Elizabeth uses the word “blessed” in speaking to Mary: “‘Most blessed are you among women’”; “‘blessed is the fruit of your womb’”; and “‘Blessed are you who believed’”. We honor Our Blessed Mother during Advent and Christmas because it was through blessed love that her life became so closely bound up with that of Our Savior’s life and mission.