MARY GOES VISITING
THIS YEAR WE "LOST" THE CELEBRATION OF THE VISITATION OF MARY TO ELIZABETH, AS PENTECOST FELL ON THE SAME DAY (31st MAY).
TODAY, 2nd JULY, IS THE "OLD" DATE FOR THE VISITATION.
John Dear is the author of the following piece.
He is described as a long-time activist, lecturer, and author/editor of thirty books, including "The Nonviolent Life", "Lazarus Come Forth!", "A Persistent Peace", "Put Down Your Sword", "Transfiguration", "You Will Be My Witnesses", "Living Peace",
"The Questions of Jesus" and "Mohandas Gandhi".
He has served as the director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and after 9/11, as a coordinator of chaplains for the Red Cross at the New York Family Assistance
“The scene takes us to the hinterlands of Palestine; a blood-stained reality hovers about. Palestine is occupied by a global empire. Roman garrisons and checkpoints and patrols, surveillance and harassment and summary executions, a population taxed and terrorized people on the edge of malnutrition.
And here Luke presents us with two marginalised women,
the one reaching out in love to the other.
Mary serves her neighbour at risk.
"Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"
Who are we?
In the Annunciation, it was clear: Mary knew who she was.
"Behold, I am the servant of the God of peace;
let it be done to me according to your word."
Here, Elizabeth isn't so sure, and neither are we.
But like Mary, we have to claim our true identities
as servants of the God of peace,
sons and daughters of the God of reconciliation.
They greet one another:
"Shalom!" "Peace be with you!"
The two pregnant women talk about their experience of God.
They tell their stories and are filled with consolation! They invite us to share with relatives and friends how we find the God of peace working in our lives and in the world.
When we do, the Holy Spirit of peace spreads, community is created, vision is inspired, and our spirits are lifted from despair to hope. From the Annunciation to the Visitation,
we see the movement of the Spirit,
from fear and confusion, to consolation and joy.
Elizabeth responds: Blessed are you, Blessed is your child. Even the unborn John the Baptist recognizes the Prince of peace even before he is born.
Elizabeth offers a third beatitude:
“Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the God of peace would be fulfilled!" This is a beatitude for Mary and for us too. All we have to do is trust the God of peace,and take Jesus at his word, and leave the outcome in his hands.Get involved in God's work of love and peace, and trust like Mary and Elizabeth that each one of us can make a difference.
"Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing," Dorothy Day said, quoting Dostoyevsky. In the Visitation, the active nonviolence, loving kindness,
and selfless service of these holy women leads them to consolation and joy.
This text summons us to reach out to the poor, to serve the poor,
to accompany the poor,
to walk with the poor,
to befriend the poor,
to stand with the poor,
and ultimately to defend the poor,
to give our lives for the poor,
and become, like Mary and Jesus,
one with the poor.
Get involved in God's work of love and peace, and trust like Mary and Elizabeth that each one of us can make a difference, each one of us is needed to share God's work of welcoming the Prince of Peace and preparing for peace on earth.
O God our deliverer, you cast down the mighty, and lift up those of no account: as Elizabeth and Mary embraced with songs of liberation, so may we also be pregnant with your Spirit, and affirm one another in hope for the world, through Jesus Christ. Amen.