Daily Reflection – 5/31/19
Mary set out and traveled 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 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 that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. 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. ( Luke 1:39-56)
Through the lives of two pregnant women this text offers powerful imagery of our approaching salvation Elizabeth is old; too old to be pregnant. She should be barren but, by the grace of God, she is pregnant. Mary is young and a virgin; too young to be pregnant but, by the grace of God, she is. One is married, the other unmarried. One’s child is the son of a man named Zechariah; the other’s child is the Son of God. One will give birth to the Voice who will cry out in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord.” The other will give birth to the Word made flesh. Yes, the time of our salvation is drawing near.
Today’ s gospel is referred to as the Visitation. Mary spends three months with Elizabeth (Luke 1:56). Luke, however, never tells us about their visit. He offers no information about what they did, where they went, what they spoke about, or how they spent their time. Instead, Luke’s sole focus is on the greetings that take place. Sacred iconography portrays this greeting as one of embrace. But it is more than a simple hug and a “hello.”
At the sound of Mary’s greeting Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit. She recognizes and greets more than her younger cousin. She embraces the divinity carried inside Mary. She recognizes Mary as the Mother of her Lord. On this day Elizabeth greets salvation. At the sound of Mary’s greeting John, the forerunner, leaps for joy in Elizabeth’s womb – the unborn prophet greeting the unborn Messiah. Together Elizabeth and John, by their greeting, proclaim that the time of our salvation is approaching.
In many ways our own lives are a series of greetings, one after another. Every day we greet one another – family, friends, colleagues, strangers, enemies, and those in need. Every day we greet the circumstances of our lives – joys, sorrows, successes, disappointments, losses, struggles, the mundane and the exciting. Every one of those greetings is pregnant with new life and the possibilities for love, compassion, forgiveness, reconciliation, healing, joy, beauty, wholeness and holiness. In other words, the greetings of our lives are pregnant with salvation. Every day, we are given the chance to move closer to our salvation.
Do we think of greetings that way? Do we understand the power that is inherent in a word, a look, a gesture? Do we reflect on the fact that our lives are interwoven? That each of us, in our own way, can make or break another’s day, another’s mood, another’s need to be recognized, another’s need to feel a word of comfort or warmth? Two women of faith did. They confirmed to each other the reality of their salvation.
So, I wonder, how will we greet the next person we see? How will we receive the most recent news and circumstances of our lives? Will we recognize, greet, and embrace our coming salvation?
Prayer of The Day
Lord, I believe in your supreme goodness and love. I entrust my entire self to you with all of my hopes, fears, and joys. Thank you for giving us the gift of yourself. Thank you, too, for giving us your mother to be our mother during our exile on this earth and journey home to you in heaven. Here I am, like her, to do your will.
Today’s Gospel highlights Mary’s faith. Mary’s faith enabled her to recognize the work of God in her people’s history and in her own life. Her openness to God allowed God to work through her so that salvation might come to all. Mary is a model and symbol of faith, love and humility. May we be like Mary, open and cooperative in God’s plan of salvation.