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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, Dec. 23, 2012

By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service

December 23, Fourth Sunday of Advent

Cycle C. Readings:

1) Micah 5:1-4a

Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19

2) Hebrews 10:5-10

Gospel: Luke 1:39-45

I was a lonely and depressed kid when I started my junior year of high school. My family had just moved across the country, and I had only made a few friends in my new community. The only thing that kept me going was the youth group at my church.

Sue, with Volunteers for Educational and Social Services, was the youth minister. I would often pop into her office when I had no place else to be and just needed to feel like I belonged somewhere. She always took time to talk with me and help me transition to my new life in Texas.

That December, Sue invited me to a day retreat at the local Catholic high school. During the session, the facilitator asked a seemingly simple question, but it was a question that would change my life forever.

He asked, "Who are the two most important people in your life?" I thought for a few moments and decided that my mom was one. That was all I could come up with. I certainly could not pick my dad. After all, I was 16 and he was my dad -- if he had said the grass was green, I would have argued it was blue just to disagree with him.

After a few moments, the facilitator said, "Was one of those people God?" In a white hot flash, everything in my life came into focus. For the first time ever, I realized God could be a person in my life, not just some cosmic force watching me from a distance. Nothing would ever be the same again.

I imagine something similar happened to Elizabeth in this week's Gospel story when Mary, pregnant with the savior of the world, walked into her home. Elizabeth said, "And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"

Though I did not say it at the time, on that retreat I easily could have said, "And how does this happen to me, that the savior of the world is a person in my life?"

In this fourth Sunday of Advent, with the celebration of Jesus' coming just around the corner, let us praise God for his coming in time and for his coming in our lives and letting us longingly await his return.


Can you recall a time when you experienced Jesus coming into your life? Who are the people in your life who have helped you grow in faith?


"And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" -- Luke 1:43


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