**PLEASE NOTE: These reflections will resume on Friday, 11 January, with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

The two pregnant women of today’s Advent Gospel, Mary and Elizabeth, recognised in each other signs from God. The angel Gabriel offered Mary a lesser parallel to her own virginal conception: “Know that Elizabeth your kinswoman has conceived a son in her old age; she who was thought to be barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible with God”

Elizabeth in her turn senses in the movement of the child in her womb upon hearing Mary’s voice that something extraordinary was happening. “Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”. Notice how each woman experienced in herself the possibility of the impossible.

There is something else worth noting: any element of “personal agenda” of Mary and Elizabeth is put aside. Both had good reason to be very preoccupied with their pregnancies and all that new life brings. Both women had a right to focus on themselves for a while as they made new and radical adjustments to their daily lives. They don’t do that. Mary reaches out to her kinswoman to help her and also to be helped by her. These two great biblical women consoled each other, shared their stories, and gave each other the gift of themselves in the midst of the new life they were experiencing: Elizabeth, after her long years of barrenness, finding herself suddenly pregnant and Mary, after her meeting with the heavenly messenger, in an “irregular” marriage situation and pregnancy.

Join Fr Russell Pollitt SJ as he reflects on the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent.

Read the texts in your Bible or hover your mouse over the references below to see the texts.

Micah 5:1-4; Psalm 79; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-44

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