Singing in Joy for the blessing of others
Think about these 4 characters in the Bible: Abel, Cain, Elizabeth, and Mary. Two are from the first testament and the others from the second testament. They form two pairs; the first pair is seen in the book of Genesis; the second in the Gospel of Luke. Do the similarities/differences end there? Probably you can say the first pair is not referring to historical characters, whereas the second pair has historical figures.
All of them received something from God. We can call it blessings or grace. Definitely, everybody receives blessings from God, and what is unique there?
Cain and Abel offered gifts to God. Abel’s gift was accepted, whereas Cain’s was not. Cain was jealous because God was pleased with the better gift of Abel. The jealousy led to murder.
Elizabeth got a child at her old age, who would become a messenger to the Lord. Mary got a child, who is the son of God. Now their first interaction after this news is in the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. Do you think they have enough reasons to be grateful to God? Do you think Elizabeth has some reasons to be jealous of God? If you are a saintly person, you might say No. I think she has some. But she is so happy at her blessing and happier at the blessing for Mary. She erupts into joy and says,
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1: 42, 43, 45, NIV)
Probably the pair of Elizabeth-Mary brings us a wonderful message in this season of Advent. Advent is the season of waiting. Waiting for the Lord (and his blessings). Can we appreciate the blessings given to Others too? Instead of jealousy, can we also sing like Elizabeth?
NB. I am grateful to Etienne Grieu SJ for this interesting comparison during the course of Marian theology.