Fourth Sunday of Advent Reflection

Sunday Gospel Reflection

by Sister marna rogers

Sr. Marna Rogers

Published: December 24, 2017

Gabriel greeted her:

… Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you… (Luke 1:28)

How do we help one another realize this every day?

For Christmas, a friend and her spouse have chosen to do 23andme (a kit to access personal background, origins and links to those who have gone before in a family history) as a family. Their adopted children, one from the Dominican Republic and the other from Vietnam, have no specific information about their heritage, nor their health history. Each country of origin has had many people pass through …

When they were adopted, their parents promised each one the opportunity to visit their country of origin when they were in their teens, and old enough to appreciate the journey.

Eric always thought he was indigenous, from the original people of his birth country, and so excited to consider that. But he recently learned, while visiting his birth village, a man there had known his Dad, and said no, his Dad’s heritage was Spanish. That encounter was clarifying, and encouraged Eric to consider other possibilities. He loved his time there with his Mom and grandmother.

Annie, his sister, knows she was born in Hanoi, recognizes that she has her birth mother and siblings still living there, and deeply resents the choice they made to release her for adoption. As she has matured, this awareness has touched so much of her life; she has refused to go to Vietnam this year. Her parents keep hoping she will someday wish to visit. So they will hold in trust the funds they set aside to travel to Hanoi as a family.

DNA/23 will not solve these concerns, nor necessarily bring peace, but to their parents, it will offer insight into the health concerns, physical and/or psychological, that may emerge, and they absorb for their beloved children. The experience will further an understanding of each child’s heritage and cultural richness, especially.

Since the parents are choosing to do this test also, with Eric and Annie, it provides a common experience as a family, and a way to stretch an awareness of unique journeys for each of them.

From the Gospels, we know that Mary and Joseph enter into their marriage both having had individual encounters with angels. Each was affirmed and encouraged to take a life path they might not have otherwise chosen, except to try to fulfill God’s hopes for each of them in their life as young adults of their time. We recognize that life asked many things of them, and their human journey mirrors what so many today experience: dislocation, danger, kindness, uncertainty, risk, courage, the need to trust and the realization that those who wished them well far outnumber those who wished to hurt them.

On this Eve of Christmas, let us take a moment to thank God for our life journey, and all that has asked of us. Maybe this year we will have an insight we never have had before.

For today, the last day of our Advent in 2017, let us embrace all whose fondest hopes come wrapped in goodness and kindness, respect and generosity, sometimes touched by sadness and loss.

Our world is weary, and some have a burden of unimaginable suffering we yearn to lift from their lives.

We wish to say, by our actions…Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, from wherever you come. Beautiful inside and out! God be with you. How can I help?


About Sister Marna

Sister Marna Rogers, SNDdeN has recently retired from ministry at Saint Francis Rehabilitation and Nursing Center as Director of Pastoral Care and Chaplain. She served as the Chaplain for the New England Hospice, an option for families to choose. She lives at Notre Dame du Lac in Worcester, Massachusetts.


Our thanks to the Congregational Mission Office of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, which publishes Gospel Reflections for Sundays and Feast Days.