“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” These are the words we hear Elizabeth say to Mary at the end of the Gospel today.
About ten chapters and thirty years later in the Gospel of Luke, when Jesus was doing his public ministry, a woman cried out to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed!” Jesus replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word fo God and observe it.” He didn’t say that is mother wasn’t important but explained why she was so important. Mary wasn’t blessed because she was biologically connected to Jesus. She was blessed because she believed.
Do we believe?
Following this homily we will say the Nicene Creed. For many, it becomes a time to stretch our legs and absentmindedly rattle off a bunch of statements. We often depend on those around us to say it… I wonder how many of us who could stand up at say it all by ourselves? I won’t test you. But test yourself later today. This creed defines what we believe. Do you know it? More importantly, do you believe it?
I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. In a world that argues science over faith, that teaches our creation was a lucky accident, and people who believe that God created the world must be foolish, we proclaim that God made everything, visible and invisible. Do you think you were an accident, or that God has a plan and a purpose for your life. Do you believe?
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.
Notice the emphasis on the beginning of this statement. One Lord. Only begotten Son. This statement says that we believe in the Gospels! This wasn’t a fairytale, this isn’t a myth. Jesus is God. He died for our sins. He rose for our salvation. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. Saying you believe this means you are accepting the reality of who Jesus was and what Jesus did. There is not another Lord. There is not another Son of God. There is not another way to be saved. We respect other faiths, but we don’t agree with them, nor do we throw up our hands and says, “who knows?” We believe that Matthew knew. We believe that Mark knew. We believe that Luke and John knew. Do you believe?
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. The Holy Spirit, who is as much God as the Father and the Son, is dwelling in our hearts. We are his temple. Our body is sacred. In Baptism, our DNA has been changed to be actual children of God. Which means the heart of our identity isn’t the place we’re from or the job we do, but that we are sons and daughters of God. Do you believe?
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Based on what we’ve seen on the news lately, do you still believe the Church is holy? Do you believe it is more than a group of sinful men and women, but it is the mystical body of Christ?
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. We don’t just believe that Christ will come again and usher in a new heaven and a new earth, we look forward to it. Are you caught up in the day to day, or are you looking forward to our eternal destiny? Do you believe?
Christmas is a few days away. It is easy to overlook this moment, to already be thinking ahead of what Christmas Mass we are going to attend. But before the Word can become flesh, there must be belief.
Elizabeth said to Mary, “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” This creed was spoken to us by the Lord, and it will be fulfilled. If you believe it, if you live it as Mary did, then blessed are you.
Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus.