“Hurry Janet, I think I’m in labor.” Janet dropped everything and sped to Jessica’s home. Entering the house, she found Jessie on the kitchen floor in a pool of water. Janet grabbed towels and helped the laboring mother into the car. Once in, Janet raced to the hospital as Jessie kept crying, “Faster, faster.” Soon Janet was clocking at eighty miles per hour; “I did not want to deliver that baby on the highway shoulder.” Janet called Jessie’s husband: “Rob, we’re headed to the hospital — now.”
Janet then dialed the nearest hospital to report the incoming patient. As they screeched into the emergency center parking lot, two nurses ran out with a wheelchair. Jessie’s husband rushed over and, thankfully, was present for the birth of a big healthy boy — just five minutes after arrival. Janet later reported, “It was so dramatic; it felt like we were in a movie!” Janet made haste to aid this mother and newborn baby.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Mary makes haste to visit Elizabeth. She doesn’t meander, wander, or stroll, but makes haste to bring Jesus — in her womb — to Elizabeth. In the letter to the Hebrews, St. Paul reports that when Jesus Christ came into the world, he said, “As is written of me in the scroll, ‘Behold, I come to do your will, O God.’” Each time we listen to the Spirit and then make haste — often sacrificing our own time/money/plans — to serve another, we are obeying God’s will.
A friend recounted a story of making haste to his father. “I heard a small voice telling me to visit my Dad. I went straight to the VA center where he resided for rehabilitation. Already ten o’clock at night, I walked through long dark halls to his room. He was wide-awake, and we had a delightful time laughing about old times. We even schemed about busting out and taking a motorcycle trip! After an hour, I said goodbye and went home. Early in the morning, I received a phone call from my sister saying, ‘Dad died last night.’” Reflecting, he said, “I’m sure it was a Spirit moment.”
Jesus gives a clear directive, “Go.” Make haste — now: not when you have time, when it’s convenient, or when you feel like it. Most of us kind-hearted people would make haste to help any woman in labor, but God calls us to make haste, day in and day out, for any person in need. Making haste responds to God’s desire to bring grace — his light, peace, hope, joy, comfort, and care — now, to those in need.
Janet most often makes haste in ordinary ways by watching the sick child of a working mom, bringing a meal to an elderly neighbor or giving an encouraging word to a friend. As parents/grandparents, we name grace — God’s merciful presence — by teaching our children to make haste to sit next to a lonely classmate, to help a sibling struggling with homework, and to share their gifts with those less fortunate. Making haste to someone in need is making haste to the newborn king.
As we enter the Christmas season, let us make haste to Jesus by receiving him in the Eucharist and by visiting the grieving neighbor, make haste to his mother by praying the rosary and by helping the single mom, and make haste to the newborn king by adoring him in the manger and by telling others of his saving love on the cross. “Haste, haste, to bring Him laud, The Babe, The Son, Of Mary.” Now, that’s good news!
Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas!