“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.
"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 the holy women leads them to consolation and joy.
This text summons us to reach out to the poor,
to serve the poor,
to 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.
John Dear :The National Catholic Reporter,
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.
“The Word that took root in the darkness of Mary’s womb,
that took flesh and walked around in this world,
that emerged not only in the labouring of a woman
but also in the labouring of generations to follow,
the ancient Word that springs forth anew—
this Word seeks to dwell deeply in us,
to be born into the world through us in this and every season.”
Jan Richardson - "The Luminous Word, Living the Advent Hours.
With joyful hearts we proclaim your greatness,
you who are God our Saviour.
From age to age your mercy has transformed our world:
The mighty are toppled from their thrones
and you raise up the lowly.
The rich are sent away while the hungry feast at your table;
The haughty lose themselves,
yet those who are faithful share in your blessing.
You have done great things for us,
raising us upon the wings of eagles,
opening our eyes to the wonder of life, the power of love.
With Mary, the humble, trusting maiden of Nazareth;
Mary, the joyful visitor of Elizabeth at Ein Karem;
Mary, the travel-worn mother of Bethlehem;
Mary, the mother searching for her Son in Jerusalem;
Mary the sorrowful mother of the Via Dolorosa;
With Mary, the first to enter where Christ had gone before….
we join angels and saints in proclaiming God’s greatness.