“Like a Good Neighbor”, By Jan Pepino, Fiat Ventures

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Like a good neighbor…I don’t even have to finish that sentence to know that you probably thought of the State Farm commercial after hearing those first few words. I’ve always found their commercials very entertaining. These commercials are so recognizable because we’ve heard it over and over to the point where we don’t even have think in order to know that it’s associated with State Farm. We don’t even have to see the commercial or the logo. Imagine having that much influence on people that just hearing their song makes you think of insurance. Well, Jesus takes this one step further in this week’s readings.

Mary traveled to see Elizabeth when she heard that her cousin was also pregnant. When Mary gets there, she greets her cousin and immediately after hearing her greeting, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy. Through Mary, Jesus was able to bring joy to those around him. Without even speaking, he made such a powerful and lasting impression. Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, then proceeds to tell Mary that she is blessed among women for having faith and believing that what the Lord promised her would be fulfilled.

I just find this so incredible. As we prepare our hearts to receive Jesus this Advent season, Mary’s example of saying yes to God’s plan for us is such a great reminder of what he can accomplish through us. When we humble ourselves and put his will before our own desires, his graces are able to enter into our lives and in turn, be shared to all those around us. Mary’s yes to becoming the mother of God reflects his perfect design for us, to be his arms and feet here on earth so that he can reach everyone. In saying yes to God’s plan, Mary was able to bring joy to Elizabeth and her child with only just her voice. From there, she raised Jesus with love and followed God’s guidance for her so Jesus could focus on his ministry.

If we allow God to work through us, we can be a light for others this advent season. Similar to how John the Baptist felt Joy through Mary’s voice, our own voices and lives can be a reflection of Jesus’ love for us. So that others can know him and enter into relationship with him. So they, in turn, can also spread his love to others.

Jesus’ message of love and forgiveness has been shared over and over for thousands of years. Even when we can’t see him physically, we recognize his teachings and feel his presence through the lives of the saints and the people in our lives who dedicate themselves to bringing his love here on earth. So I guess we do have a jingle to share. After all, our savior was the first good neighbor.

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