Sunday Gospel Reflection
Fourth Sunday of Advent
Luke 1:39-45 | Dec. 19, 2021
JM Nuqui – Campus Minister
If we try to look and reflect deeper at the Joyful Mysteries, we realize that they aren’t 100% joyful after all. Mary must have panicked, even little, when the angel Gabriel left her. Paano niya sasabihin sa mga magulang niya at kay Jose? She must also have struggled within, knowing the consequences that comes with the pregnancy. Nativity of our Lord? No room for them in the inn, born in a stable and manger, and a king so threatened by a prophecy that he had male babies slaughtered. Joyful, really? Presentation of the Lord. “A sword will pierce your heart.” It was as if Simeon was telling Mary, “Magdurusa ka!” I’m sure far from joyful. At yung huli, nawala si Hesus. The losing must have been a traumatic experience for Mary and Joseph. Hindi lang kasi basta nawala si Hesus; nawala siya sa piling nila ng tatlong araw! So much for a joyful mystery, don’t you think?
My dear brothers and sisters, we hear in today’s Gospel the story of the Visitation, a joyful mystery. Alam niyo na siguro kung saan ito patungo. Mary traveled to the hill country in haste. Nagmamadali. Baka nga tumakbo pa si Maria. Kung kasama lang natin si Maria, siguro sinabi na natin sa kanya, “Maria, ‘wag ka tumakbo baka malaglag ang bata sa sinapupunan mo!” Elizabeth was pregnant for the first time and was at her old age. Just imagine the hormonal changes and discomfort. She may have been crankier than the usual. Doesn’t look like a joyful situation to be in, does it? At nakita natin sa Ebanghelyo ang pagtatagpo ng dalawang buntis na “high-risk”: si Maria na high-risk sa eskandalo, at si Elizabeth na high-risk pregnancy. If the story went otherwise, both of them might have faced death. But both were jumping for joy! The baby in Elizabeth’s womb also leapt for joy. At kung ipagpapatuloy natin ang kwento, napakanta pa si Maria. So, we ask ourselves: where is the joy in all of these? Ano nga ba talaga ang tunay na kagalakan?
Joy is not the absence of sadness, difficulties, and challenges in our life. Joy is not when we do not have any obstacles to hurdle. My dear friends, Joy is when we may be beset with difficulties but know that we are not alone. How can a baby chuckle and laugh when thrown up in the air? Kampante kasi siyang kasama niya ang kanyang tatay o nanay na hindi siya papabayaan. How can someone with cancer tell of his or her sickness with a smile on the face? Alam niya kasing hindi siya nag-iisa sa laban at pagsubok na ito. In the face of a seemingly not joyful situation, Mary and Elizabeth celebrated and leapt for joy dahil alam nilang hindi sila nag-iisa. Kasama nila ang Diyos. And what greater joy it brings to be visited by God! At kapag ang Diyos ay bumisita sa ating buhay, Siya ay nananahan. Ang Diyos ay nananatili sa ating piling, at tayo sa Kanya.
At hindi ba ito ang galak at regalo na ating tinatanggap mula sa Diyos tuwing Pasko? Through the Incarnation, we celebrate not only God’s “Visitation” here on earth, but more importantly, His dwelling with us. Hindi lamang bumisita ang Diyos sa katauhan ni Hesus. Niyakap ng Diyos ang ating buong buhay at pagkatao. When we falter in relationships, when we fail in work and school, when we have to struggle and deal with the pain of losing someone, when we continuously knock but doors aren’t opened, know that we are not alone. Rise, look up, and see that our family and friends never left us. At kung hindi natin ito makita at maramdaman, trust that the Lord is always with us. Hindi ba ito ang ibig sabihin ng Pasko: Emmanuel, nasa atin ang Diyos.
This Christmas, I pray that we may be able to reflect God’s love and goodness in our life. Dahil tayo ay binisita ng Diyos, nawa Siya ay ating dalhin sa ating pagbibisita sa mga taong mahal natin at sa mga taong nangangailangan. And my dear brothers and sisters, God didn’t just dwell here on earth. God dwells and lives in each one of us. Kaya tayo ay magalak! Hindi lang sina Maria at Elizabeth ang buntis sa kwento na ito. Each one of us, each life, each humanity is magnificently full and pregnant with Grace. Tayong lahat ay buntis sa biyaya, at higit sa lahat, tayong lahat ay nagdadalang-Diyos.
P.S. My dear friends, after reading this reflection, I invite you to listen to the song “Dwells God” (music and lyrics by Fr. Arnel Aquino, SJ.). Happy Sunday!