What makes us ‘leap for joy’?

Published December 19, 2021, 12:05 AM

by Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

Word Alive

Fr. Bel San Luis

The fourth and last Sunday of Advent focuses on the personages surrounding Jesus, the center of our Christmas celebration: Mary, Joseph, and her cousin Elizabeth and Zacariah.

* * *

Some years ago in a pilgrimage, I had visited the “hill country” called Ein Karem, the village where Zacariah and Elizabeth lived. Ein Karem is 90 kilometers away from Nazareth and, by foot, it took a week to travel.

* * *

Despite the difficulty, Mary and Joseph took the sacrifice of visiting and assisting Elizabeth, her cousin, in giving birth to John. Mother Mary could have excused herself, saying, “I can’t go. I’m conceiving, too.” But they went. This is Christianity at its best—compassionate and sensitive to the predicament of others.

* * *

I recall a personal experience of mine. I went to see my doctor at the Lourdes Hospital in Manila. While there, I found out that an elderly SVD priest was confined.

After consultation, I dropped by to say hello. Upon seeing me, his face brightened and blurted out: “Oh, Father, how nice of you to visit me! Thank you, thank you.” (I didn’t tell him that my visit was unplanned and accidental).

* * *

Anyway, we had a nice chat, reminiscing the good old days when both of us were assigned in the SVD Northern Province.

When it was time to leave, he said: “Father, remember this. When there’s a sick confrere you know nearby, don’t ever forget to visit him.” Incidentally, that was the last time we saw each other because months after, he passed away. I was sad but was also happy for making a brother-priest happy.

That personal experience is just one of the numerous forms of compassion we can do—much like what Mother Mary and Joseph did.

* * *

There’s another message of the gospel wherein Elizabeth greets Mary. Filled with the Holy Spirit, she cries out, saying: “Why should I be honored with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy.” The child in Elizabeth’s womb, John, was overwhelmed with at feeling the presence of Jesus in the womb of Mary.

* * *

What makes us “leap for joy” on Christmas? Is it the coming of Christ to our world and redeemed us? Or is it the Christmas bonuses, the many gifts, Christmas parties and merry making? If it’s the latter, then our joy is superficial, fleeting, and incomplete.

* * *

The source of our lasting and greatest joy is–and should be–the reality that the Son of God, came into our world to redeem us from sin and death. Imagine, of all the planets and millions of galaxies, he chose our planet Earth.

“For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son not to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (Jn. 3,16).

* * *

LAUGH ONE ANOTHER. There are four stages in a man’s life. First, when he believes in Santa Claus. Second, when he doesn’t believe in Santa Claus anymore. Third, when he is Santa Claus. Fourth, when he LOOKS LIKE Santa Claus.

* * *

Spiritual Preparation. A soldier and his wife were preparing for the Baptism of their child when the chaplain arrived for the ceremony. Taking the father aside, the priest asked, “Are you prepared for this spiritual event?” “I guess so, father,” replied the soldier. “I’ve got a lechon, pickles, cake, cookies…” “No, no!” interrupted the chaplain. “I mean are you spiritually prepared?” * * * “Well, I don’t know,” said the soldier thoughtfully. “But would two bottles of whiskey, two cases of beer be enough?” NOTE: That’s another kind of “spirit.” Are you prepared spiritually for Christmas? Are you in the state of sin? Unforgiving? Selfish? Proud? Ask the Lord’s forgiveness.

* * *

GIVE LOVE. In the spirit of Christmas, let’s reach out to the victims of super-typhoon Odette. Send donation in cash or kind to legitimate and authorized centers.

* * *

Kindly help, also, some indigent sick I’m helping: Marylou M., Jacky L. sick of severe asthma, vulnerable to COVID virus; five-year-old leukemia patient Alison Lira.

For inquiry, e-mail me at: [email protected]

 
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