4th Sunday of Advent – 2009
“Mary entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.” Lk.1:39
The Gospel speaks of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, an encounter in our Christian tradition that celebrates Mary’s faithfulness to God’s promise and Elizabeth’s recognition that her cousin is the dwelling place of God. This blessing is ours also with the awareness that each one of us is indeed the place where God lives and that we carry God’s energy since our cosmic beginnings over 15 billion years ago.
Sacred is the thought
that we are all temples
from which God’s gifts and blessings
are spread out to the world.
- Margie Byrne, pbvm
As we reflect on the passage, we see Elizabeth and Mary as blessing for each other. We here in Dominica recognize that we have been led to this place where we are greeted and blessed daily. As we immerse ourselves in another culture, we sometimes feel daunted, dislocated and even overwhelmed. There is a saying, “To live in Africa, one must feel the music of Africa.” While we don’t live in Africa, we realize that it takes a long time to feel the music of a place yet our hearts know that we are privileged to be in this place of blessing.
Dominicans “whose origin is from of old, from ancient days” live in their psychic memory the pain of being ripped from their African homeland and brought as slaves to the Caribbean. Their sad feelings run deeply. In direct proportion to their angst is a joy-filled abandon that expresses itself in humor, song, dance, music and ritual. In their celebratory moments and, there are many, Dominicans live life to the hilt with contagious energy. We are blessed to live among people of large hearts and deep faith who end every encounter with the words, “Have a blessed day.”
Since the people here suffer from extreme economic poverty we, who have so much, are challenged daily to reflect on our 2003 IPA Commitment to address our individual greed and the root causes of poverty. Also, the people inspire us by their passionate commitment to keep their island green. While the creation of a massive tourism industry would provide badly needed jobs in the country, Dominicans uncompromisingly resist this kind of development because it would harm the environment of their island. Their lived values in this regard are true to their country’s motto, “After God, it is the land.”
Blessed are they who live in the universe,
are inclusive of all and celebrate the resacrilization of the planet.
They shall experience beauty in all that is revealed.
- James Conlon
Whose house have I entered and whom did I greet today?
Who has blessed me today and for whom have I been blessing?
— Betty Rae, Jean, Sarah and Sylvia, pbvm