Mary and Elizabeth

Luke 1:39-56
Rv 11:19a;12:1-6a,10ab / Psa 45

Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!
(Luke 1:42)

When we encounter difficulty
In our mission to bring the Good News;
Mary’s trials and humility
Should lead us to her Son, Christ Jesus.

Mary set out and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and filled with the Holy Spirit, she cried out in a loud voice: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is His name. His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as He promised our ancestors.” Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home. (Luke 1:39-56)

Reflection

Apparently, her cousin Elizabeth was the only person whom Mary could share her feelings with, having learned from the messenger Gabriel that God had likewise blessed her with a miracle (becoming pregnant well past the child-bearing age). Certainly Mary could not reveal what had happened to her even to her own parents or close friends because the idea of being impregnated by the Holy Spirit was simply too mind-boggling to be believable. Only another woman who had also become pregnant under mysterious circumstances would understand and celebrate with her. And Mary was not mistaken. The spontaneous greeting of Elizabeth immediately put her heart at ease. “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” Elizabeth already knew about her condition; she had no need to explain.

Like Elizabeth, Mary was also filled with the Holy Spirit, as she exclaimed, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me.” How beautiful are the exaltations of these two devoted women, divinely inspired and prophetic. For indeed generations of Christians for thousands of years have been calling her “blessed” every time we pray for her intercession.

The Visitation was a great blessing for both Mary and Elizabeth. And today’s Gospel passage also blesses us with the inspiration that all of us can be both a “Mary” or an “Elizabeth” to others who come into our lives. Whether we are confused, anxious, or need to share our joy, we should, like Mary, seek the company and counsel of those who share our predicament or blessing. We can also follow the example of Elizabeth, who, like her humble son, John the Baptist, set aside her own importance (as an elder) to compliment or give moral support to those who seek our counsel or merely our company. As we are edified by the characters of Mary and Elizabeth, let us then follow their example by being a blessing to others.

Dear God, loving Father, thank You for giving us our Mother Mary, whom we believe intercedes for us in heaven. May we follow her example of faith, service, and great humility: full of trust in Your will, willingness to give our time and effort for others, and acknowledging that we are all Your stewards and handmaids, and must be willing to accept all circumstances in our life to serve You. Amen.

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