Scripture: Lectionary 198. Song of Songs 2:8-14 or Zephaniah 3:14-18. Psalm 33:14-18. Luke 1:39-45
The Song of Song captures the Advent spirit this day and it forms a good way to make the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth a pleasant and joyful meditation. Think of Mary making her way to see her beloved Elizabeth.
Mary is hastening to visit her kinswoman because she is aware that both she and Elizabeth are pregnant and have much to share; they will also be of great help to each other as they await the day of the birth of a son. The precursor or herald of Jesus, John the Baptist, will be the first to be born for Elizabeth is already in her sixth month, whereas Mary is just beginning her pregnancy. Both await patiently and with joy. This news must be shared by the women who are righteous before God and have been open to the mystery of God’s love in their lives. Both are still remembering the surprise that God gave them.
The Song of Songs, a series of love songs, fits in well with the scene from Luke called the Visitation. The lover hastens across the mountains like a gazelle; hastens to meet the beloved one. Mary hastens to Elizabeth. The scene is pictured in springtime for all things seem to be bursting out in new life: flowers, vines, and fragrances from the new budding trees. The scene parallels what Luke depicts in his narrative which he keeps very much alive with the conversation and song of the women. Elizabeth praise is astounding as she tells Mary she is blessed among all women, that is, she is highly blessed by God for this young virgin mother has firmly trusted in the word of the Angel and has said her yes to God in giving birth to a son in due time. That son will be the Messiah as Elizabeth affirms, “ How is it that the mother of my Lord should visit me?”
They meet and embrace. We may think of this scene or recall some of the great artists work on the event of the meeting of two blessed women; one is young and a virgin; the other more advanced in years and was barren; now she is pregnant. Is Elizabeth the first to proclaim Mary blessed? It seems so except for the Angel Gabriel who declares Mary to be someone very special to God.
The Psalm keeps the scene alive by suggesting we sing a new song. Which song? The one Mary will sing right after Elizabeth finishes her acclamations about Mary. We can pray both the Psalm and Mary’s Magnificat with the O Antiphon offered this day.
We may also wish to meditate on the alternative reading from Zephaniah to see how Mary is the new Daughter of Zion with the King dwelling within her. Christmas is not far off and we rejoice with both Mary and Elizabeth. We wish to meet them and to meet Jesus. Amen.