A Salute to Women

Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 20, 2015

Our Gospel today is a Salute to Women. Thank you, St. Luke.

Our Gospel today is a salute to Mary and Elizabeth. Thank you, St. Luke.

 

Have you ever noticed how differently the four gospel writers and Paul present the birth of Jesus?

 

Mark skips the birth of Jesus altogether and begins his Gospel with the Baptism of the Lord at age 30. Mark seems almost indifferent to Mary throughout his Gospel.

 

As for Matthew, Mary is mentioned but she never speaks a word. Paul refers to Jesus as being “born of a woman” without ever mentioning Mary’s name.

 

The gospel of John recounts the Christmas scene in one verse: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

 

Only Luke gives us details of the infancy of Jesus and also a portrait of Mary. He devotes two chapters to the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. How grateful we are to Luke for putting a face on Mary who is a model of faith and compassion through all ages. In the gospel of Luke it is the women who hold center stage. In the resurrection accounts, it is the women who announce the good news. It is the women who bring Christ to us. It is the women who embody the mercy of God, Mary and Elizabeth are the women of redemption. It is their encouragement of one another that allows them to go forward with the confidence and joy they will need when their sons, John the Baptist and Jesus, are placed in the hands of their executioners.

 

There is great beauty in the scene of these two women blessing one another and recognizing how God has come into each of their lives. As Mary and Elizabeth bless each other, they symbolize the great blessings that have come to us down through history through the fidelity and blessedness of the women of the Old Testament. All these women were spirit filled and announced the saving presence of God in various ways.

 

As we read the story of the visitation, we have a wonderful opportunity to recall the women in our own lives who have blessed us. They have revealed the presence of a loving and merciful Lord whose birth in history we celebrate at Christmas. What would the Church do without the dedicated and loving women who serve in so many ways? Especially our religious women in consecrated life?

And so today is dedicated to women, all the women who are so much a part of our lives. And so gentlemen, today tell the women in your lives how much you love them.

 

Hug your mother and tell her you love her. Hug you wife, and tell her you love her. Hug your daughter and tell her you love her. If any of these significant women have crossed over to eternal life, kneel down and tell them you love them, they will hear you.

 

Gentleman, if you are having a dispute with any of these significant women, today is your day to apologize, because today we salute women. Even if you feel you are absolutely right,……come on guys…just give it up and apologize.

 

You heard the old philosophical question: “If a tree falls in a forest, and there is no one to hear it, does it still make a sound?”

Here is an adaptation of that question: “If a man is alone in a forest, and he says something, and his wife is not around to hear it, is he still wrong?”

 

In conclusion, as your pastor I am hereby issuing a decree that is to be observed throughout the land, that tomorrow/today December 20 is a salute to women.  Amen.

 

Fr. Terry Hazel

 

Sunday Readings

 

2 Samuel:  7: 1-5 

Thus says the Lord: Is it you who would build me a house to dwell in?

Romans: 16: 25-27 

...through Jesus Christ be glory forever and ever.

Luke 1: 26-38 

Mary said, "Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."