Dec. 12: Second Tuesday of Advent
During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth (Lk 1:39-40).
Announcing a pregnancy to a beloved friend or family member has to rank up near the top of life’s most joyful moments. But it is not just times of joy that lead us to seek human contact. We learn of a neighbor’s death and head over to the house with casserole in hand (well, we do in the South, anyway). We hear of a friend’s job promotion and take her out for a celebratory lunch. We receive a grim diagnosis or some bad news, and we immediately reach for the hand of a parent, a spouse, a best friend, a mentor.
Sharing the burdens and gifts that life brings to us is essential to being human. Indeed, God recognized this instinct for companionship in the first moments of the created world, when he declared that it was not good for adam, or the “earth-creature,” to be alone.
Today’s vignette of the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth stands out for its warm intimacy—especially in a biblical context that does not furnish a plethora of stories about females. The mutual comfort and joy of these two women, whose lives have been upended by the hand of God, is endearing and exemplary. Mary and Elizabeth embody the genuine connections of clasped hands, locked eyes, warm embraces, voices lifted up together. These are tangible demonstrations of love and affection that give the lie to the faux connectivity offered by social media and iDevices.
In these remaining days of Advent—and beyond—let us strive to be truly present to one another in ways that divide our burdens and multiply our joys.
Loving Lord, Inspire us to strengthen the bonds of human connection, and to be truly attentive to the needs of others. Amen.
For today’s readings, click here.