The first reading at Mass today prepares us for the Gospel reading of the Visitation, and for the celebration of Christmas. This is the season of the Joyful Mysteries!
The Lord says this:
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
the least of the clans of Judah,
out of you will be born for me
the one who is to rule over Israel;
his origin goes back to the distant past,
to the days of old.
The Lord is therefore going to abandon them
till the time when she who is to give birth gives birth.
Then the remnant of his brothers will come back
to the sons of Israel.
He will stand and feed his flock
with the power of the Lord,
with the majesty of the name of his God.
They will live secure, for from then on he will extend his power
to the ends of the land.
He himself will be peace.
Micah speaks of a time for being lost and a time for being found, a time of sterility and alienation and a time of restoration and fruitfulness.
The time of newness is amply realised in Mary and Elizabeth.
It is also something offered to us all. We too are invited to give ourselves over to the ‘work’ of bearing the fruitfulness of God’s grace in our bodies, in our lives and our relationships with others.
And in our openness to his will for us, the world is refashioned and achieves its potential. The rest and peace of God’s shalom is once more to be enjoyed in this world.
Evangelist in Grey. Natalia Goncharova. Russian Museum. St Petersburg. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.