Scripture: May 31, Visitation, Lectionary # 572.
Let us rejoice and be glad in celebrating this feast of the meeting of two
great women, Mary and Elizabeth. Paintings have interpreted this scene in
a most beautiful manner and often show us the embrace of love between two
pregnant mothers who will play a role in the birth of the Precursor of
Jesus, John the Baptist, and the birth of the Messiah. We are summoned to
rejoice with them for our salvation is near when this event is taking
place. Mary is declared blessed while Elizabeth is the prophetess who
ushers in the news about the coming of the Messiah. “How is it that the
mother of my Lord should visit me?” Mary is seen in the first reading as
the Daughter of Zion, one of the titles and thematic expressions that help
us understand her relationship to her own people Israel. She is Jewish and
she shares the title Daughter of Zion with the holy city of Jerusalem which
she visited with Joseph after the birth of her son.
The text tells us that Mary went with haste to visit the woman Elizabeth
who though previously barren for many years is now in the sixth month of
her pregnancy. Mary goes at the sign the Angel Gabriel gave her and
hastens to the aid of her cousin but also has the desire to share what is
transpiring in her own womb in a marvelous and miraculous way. What a
powerful scene we have before us as we meditate on this joyful mystery.
In their affectionate embrassing their babies rejoice and “leap” in their
mothers’ womb. Christ is alive and the Baptist is already rejoicing that
his day is coming soon when he will continue to rejoice in announcing the
one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. John will be the Messiah’s herald,
his precursor, and his witness till his martyrdom. Jesus will say of him
that there is no one greater than John the Baptist to have been born of a
woman! John will represent the end of the prophetic era and Jesus will
usher in the messianic and salvific kairos of God’s redemptive plan for
fallen human nature. What better way than the conception and birth of an
announcer and the announced.
Elizabeth is aging and was barren; Mary is very youthful and is virgin yet
is a mother of the Son of God. The two women complete each other through
their role in the life of their offspring and in the role they each play in
God’s plan of salvation for humankind. While Elizabeth declares Mary to be
blessed because of her faith, Mary sings out how great God is in looking
upon the lowly ones and overcome the proud, the powerful, and the wealthy.
The metanoia of human mindsets has a model of how to change and have a
conversion and return to acknowledge who really is in charge of life and
its meaning–the God of Israel. Mary magnifies the Lord. Elizabeth
pronounces Mary to be the blessed one who ushers in the joy and peace of
In Elizabeth we experience the holiness of a faithful woman of Israel who
has undauting hope in God; in Mary we have a woman who is totally in love
with God and has a magnanimous spirit to accept all that God has in store
for her. Elizabeth has uttered prophetic words about her cousin while
Mary’s exhuberance leads her to give us the finest of hymns every sung by a
woman. It could not be surpassed for it is divinely inspired.
Today and everyday recalls the Visitation in this hymn which we call after
the first words of it in Latin, the “Magnificat”. Yes, Mary magnifies the
Lord with her praise and will continue to do so by the way she lives out
her life totally dedicated to Jesus her Son and the Son of God. “Let us
rejoice and be glad!” Amen. Alleluiah.
Tuesday of sixth week after Easter. Lectionary # 292.
Scripture: Acts 16: 22-34. Psalm 138: 1-2.2-3.7-8. John 16: 5-11:
Pentecost is approaching us and as we hear or read the excerpt from John’s
Gospel we enter into the most extensive discourse of Jesus about the Holy
Spirit in the Gospels. The verses are a primary source for our preparation
for Pentecost and our own appreciation for having already received the Holy
Spirit at our baptism.
Jesus is promising to send this Spirit upon his apostles as he continues
his last will and testament to them. This Spirit wil be the one who
convicts the “world” of sin, justice, and condemnation. This most
difficult set of convictions is under the power of the Spirit. Sin is
judged first as the result of many not being open to receiving the gifts of
God and of not believing in the Apostle of God, Jesus, son of Mary and Son
of God. Justice in the sense that the Evil One, the Prince of Darkness is
to be judged by the Holy Spiirt who abhors evil spirits of any type in any
age. The Spirit will show the righteousness of God and scatter the
darkness of the evil ones and their prince.
The world is those who refuse to turn to God and to accept the revelatory
word of God. Thee is no change of heart in those represented by the word
“world” in this passage. It is the Holy Spirit who enlightens us to
overcome the darkness of sin, injustice, and hard heartedness. The Spirit
is filled with truth just as Jesus is truth. The Spirit witnesses to Jesus
and helps us to do the same. Sin is overcome because the Advocate will be
the supreme judge of wisdom and righteousness and will defend all those who
have turned to God’s word.
We pray together, ” Come, Holy Spirit, enlighten our hearts and enkindle in
them the flame of divine love the we may have a burning desire for truth,
for the way, and for fully being alive. Allow this light to be within us
that we may become light ourselves by being warmed and illumined by its
rays. Create us anew by starting with our hearts and opening them to your
gifts. Help us to be one with you in loving one another. Yes, come Holy
Spirit, sanctify us, confirm us, and remain always with us. Amen.