Monday, December 28, 2009

Luke 1:39-56 Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Mary Visits Elizabeth

Luke 1:39-56 Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Mary Visits Elizabeth

During those days Mary set out and travelled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord (footnote 1) should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed (footnote 2) that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."
And Mary said: (footnote 3) "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my saviour.
For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy,
according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."
Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

The Word Today
"The infant in my womb leaped for joy" - The evangelist's language in describing the visitation scene recalls David's action when the Ark of the Covenant was transferred from Baalah to Jerusalem (2 Sm 6:16; 1 Chr 13:8). David leapt and danced for joy in welcoming the Ark, which was Yahweh's visible presence among his chosen people. Elizabeth manifests the same reaction upon seeing Mary who has come to help her during her pregnancy. Mary, in this sense is the new Ark of the Covenant. She carries in her womb the Lord (vv42-43), and the Lord's presence brings joy and blessing to the house of Zechariah. Even the child in Elizabeth's womb shares in this blessing.
The point of the episode is Christological: Jesus' presence among human beings spells tidings of messianic joy (Lk 2:10). Mary's role is to be an instrument of spreading that special joy to others. The prophet Isaiah may as well have spoken of her when he exclaimed: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings" (Is 52:7)

Like Mary, does your presence bring joy to people you come to visit?
from 365 Days With The Lord, published by St Pauls Publishing

1. The sign given to Mary in confirmation of the angel's announcement to her is the pregnancy of her aged relative Elizabeth. If a woman past the childbearing age could become pregnant, why, the angel implies, should there be doubt about Mary's pregnancy, for nothing will be impossible for God.
2. Even before his birth, Jesus is identified in Luke as the Lord.
3. Blessed are you who believed: Luke portrays Mary as a believer whose faith stands in contrast to the disbelief of Zechariah (Luke 1:20). Mary's role as believer in the infancy narrative should be seen in connection with the explicit mention of her presence among "those who believed" after the resurrection at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1:14).

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