Recently, I had the opportunity to see the HBO movie, My Dinner With Hervé, in which actor Peter Dinklage plays the late actor Hervé Villechaize, who was best known for his role as Tattoo in the TV series Fantasy Island. The character of Tattoo was most famous for excitedly shouting, “The plane! The plane!” whenever guests were arriving to the island. With that in mind, imagine how you would react if you were stranded on a desert island and caught sight of the plane coming to rescue you. No doubt you would shout with the same excitement shown by Tattoo!
The Scripture readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent announce that our rescue is upon us and, in fact, our rescuer can be seen! Our response is to shout out to all those on the desert island that we can see from whence our rescuer is coming and to point to the skies so that they, too, recognize that rescue has arrived.
In the first reading, the Prophet Micah (5:1–4a) tells us that our rescue originates from the little town of Bethlehem.
But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to rule in Israel.
In the Responsorial Psalm, we are reminded that, if we are to recognize our rescuer, we need to face the right direction: “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.”
In the Gospel, we recognize Mary as the vehicle that is carrying our rescuer, and we hear the joy of Elizabeth—the first person to encounter this rescuer:
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
In our spiritual lives, we are called to recognize that the salvation that comes to us from Jesus Christ is within reach and that we are indeed saved—right now. We, in turn, are called to spread this Good News to others and to announce that our salvation has drawn near. Like Mary who “went in haste” to Elizabeth, we are called to be a people “on the move.”
A wonderful resource that you can use to emphasize the role of Mary in delivering our rescuer, Jesus, is the Mary, Our Mother Plush Figure. This is a great resource that reminds us that Mary is the first and greatest catechist, who points the way to our Savior, Jesus Christ. May we follow in her footsteps and announce to the world that help has arrived!