» 12/23/2012 13:03 VATICAN Pope: At Christmas time we imitate Mary and Elizabeth, we visit the sick and welcome God Angelus, Benedict XVI invites people to visit the prisoners, the elderly, children. And also to seek and discover God. Elizabeth represents the Old Testament, which awaits the Messiah, Mary represents the fulfillment of this expectation.
(AsiaNews) - "Let us imitate Mary in the Christmas season, visiting those
who are experiencing hardship, especially the sick, the imprisoned, the elderly
and children. Let us laso imitate Elizabeth, who welcomes guests like God
Himself: without desiring
the Lord we will never know Him, without waiting for Him we will never meet Him,
without seeking will never find Him". Before
praying the Angelus with the pilgrims in St Peter's Square, Benedict XVI spoke
of the "beauty of welcome", men and God, for "where there is mutual
acceptance, listening, making room for another, there is God and the joy that
comes from Him. "
pontiff took his cue from today's Gospel (IV Sunday of Advent - Luke 1, 39-45),
which narrates the encounter between Mary and Elizabeth.
episode - explained the pope - is not a simple act of courtesy, but very simply
shows the meeting of the Ancient with the New Testament. The two women, both
pregnant, in fact embody the expectation and the Awaited One. The elderly Elizabeth
symbolizes Israel awaiting the Messiah, while the young Mary carries within her
the fulfillment of this expectation, for the benefit of all mankind. During their
meeting the two women recognize first of all the fruit of their wombs, John and
The Christian poet Prudentius comments: "The child in the elderly womb greets
content, through the mouth of his mother, the Lord Son of the Virgin"
(Apotheosis, 590: PL 59, 970). John's joy in Elizabeth's womb is
the sign of fulfillment: God is going to visit his people. At the Annunciation the
Archangel Gabriel spoke to Mary of Elizabeth's pregnancy (cf. Luke 1:36) as
proof of God's power: infertility, despite advanced age,
had become fertility. "
XVI continues to show the relationship between expectation and fulfillment,
between the Old and New Testament, "Elizabeth, welcoming Mary, recognizes
that she is bringing the promise of God to humanity, and exclaims:" "Blessed are you among women, and
blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the
mother of my Lord should come to me? "(Lk 1.42 to 43.) the expression" blessed are you among women"
is first referred to in the Old Testament to Jael (Judges 5.24 )
and Judith (Judith 13:1), two warrior women who are working to save Israel. Now
it's addressed to Mary, a young peaceful girl who is about to give birth to the
Savior of the world. Likewise John's leap of joy of (cf. Lk 1 ,
44) refers to the dance of King David when he accompanied the entrance of the
Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem (cf. 1 Chr 15:29). The Ark, which contained
the tablets of the Law, the manna and the rod of Aaron
(cf. Heb 9:4), was a sign of God's presence among his people. The unborn John
leaps for joy before Mary, Ark of the New Covenant, who is carrying Jesus, the
Son of God made man" .
the same joy of Mary - concluded the pope - who is in a hurry to see Elizabeth
(cf. Lk 1:39), we go to meet the Lord who comes. Let us pray that all men seek
God, discovering that it is God who first comes
to visit us. To Mary, Ark of the New and Eternal Covenant, we entrust our
hearts, so she may make them worthy to receive the visit of God in the mystery
of the Savior's birth. "