The Visitation

Luke 1:39-56
Zep 3:14-18a / Isa 12

From now on all generations will call me blessed…
(Luke 1:48)

My soul proclaims the Lord’s greatness,
My lips exult with words of praise!
He has shown me His great kindness,
And led me to this life of grace.

At that time Mary got ready 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 Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “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

Among the four evangelists, the Gospel of Luke may be considered as the most unique, in terms of adhering faithfully to historical events; and in the continuing development of the early Church that Jesus founded after His ascension into heaven, with the fulfillment of His promise in the coming of the Holy Spirit (the book of Acts that Luke also wrote). The Gospel of Luke is also notable in the prominence that its accounts give to women. We find this right in the very first chapter of his Gospel, where the Blessed Mother visits her cousin Elizabeth. Nowhere is this encounter between these two holy women found in the other three Gospels.

Luke also gives a more graphic description in depicting the power of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of the principal characters, like Mary, Elizabeth and Zechariah (Lk.1:35,41,67). There was no human way that Elizabeth could have known about Mary receiving the divine privilege of becoming the “mother of my Lord”, since Mary had hurried to visit her, and her pregnancy would have been a well-guarded secret. It could only have been through the power of the Holy Spirit that Elizabeth acquired this information. Even the six-month old baby (John the Baptist) in her womb “leaped for joy” in the presence of its Master’s mother, due to the prodding by the Holy Spirit.

St. Luke himself was surely writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit. For how could he (or the Blessed Mother Mary) have known that her words would be a self-fulfilling prophecy when she said, “From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is His name.” Indeed, down through the ages, Catholics address her, “blessed are you among women” each time we pray the “Hail Mary” for her intercession. Reading today’s Gospel of Luke helps us to see why our Mother Mary should be our Model in being familiar with the Scriptures. Her “Magnificat” is like a condensed book of Psalms, praising God, and showing His love for the lowly and condemnation of the proud. It was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit, and must be our inspiration as well as we strive for His indwelling in our own life as followers of Jesus Christ.

We praise and thank You, Father God, for giving us Mary, our Blessed Mother, not only to intercede for us in our supplications, but to be our model in submitting to Your will, and being led by the Holy Spirit in our faith journey. Amen.

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