60-Second Sermon: Fourth Sunday of Advent

Rita Ferrone reflects on the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Advent.

Roman/RCL: Luke 1: 39-45



  1. Hi Rita–great video! I’m wondering if you could clarify one thing that you said that has me confused? You said, regarding meeting people over Christmas: “Let the s(S?)pirit in them speak to the s(S?)pirit in you because God is in the meeting.” Thanks! John

    1. Thanks, John! The relationship between the Holy Spirit and the human spirit is a theme in pneumatology that is intriguing to me — and one that better theologians than I have wrestled with, so I don’t feel I have it all wrapped either! But on a very simple pastoral level, I can say I believe that the Holy Spirit dwells in us and guides us and sometimes speaks through us to other people.

      It’s a Lucan theme. Many times in Luke’s gospel, the Spirit prompts people to act and wonderful things happen as a result. In this story of the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth, it seems to me that the encounter itself is the locus of the Holy Spirit’s action — that the Spirit was speaking through the human spirit of these two women as they joyfully greeted each other — and that was what I sought to capture as the touchstone of this little sermon.

      It’s very instructive to take Luke’s perspective, as I see it. On a human level, we all know the joy of encounter, but the thought that God may be mediating such a gift — that these are “godly meetings” in which we sense the movement of the Spirit within us and within other people — frees us to make a truly grateful response on a spiritual level. Does this make sense?

      1. Rita–thanks for your thoughtful reply. I see now that you did mean the Holy Spirit when you said “Let the Spirit in them speak to the Spirit in you because God is in the meeting.” I am familiar with the concept of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, especially through Holy Baptism and the transformative power He has in us. It can be difficult to grasp and annunciate, even for a life-long believer.
        What was confusing was the use of spirit/Spirit. Your words made it sound to me like there were two different spirits, one in me and one in the other, and the two spirits would talk to each other. I guess what you were saying was: “Let the Spirit speak to each of you through the other person, for God is in your meeting.” Is my interpretation correct?
        I now think that can see how you were trying to parallel the Visitation with a meeting I might have with a friend or family member, just like the Holy Spirit used our Lady and St. Elizabeth at the Visitation. Had they not been filled with Him, they would not have cried out as they did. A blessed preparation for the feast to you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *