Reflections on the readings for the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (May 31, 2021): ZEP 3:14-18; IS 12:2-3,4,5-6; LK 1:39-56
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During Mary’s time with Elizabeth, they surely must have prayed together, praising God for the gift of the infants they carried within them. They must also have wondered about what God would ask of them, their children, and their husbands in the days and years ahead.
Today we commemorate the encounter between the Blessed Virgin Mary and her cousin St. Elizabeth on this feast of the Visitation. When the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would be the mother of the Son of God, he also told her that Elizabeth was in the sixth month of her pregnancy. Because she and her husband Zechariah had been childless and were advanced in age, this news showed Mary in a very real way that nothing is impossible for the Almighty. But it also meant something else to the young woman who had given her will over to God. Mary, now bearing her Son, quickly travelled to see Elizabeth to support and help her in a wonderful, but possibly difficult time. As soon as the two women met, Elizabeth acknowledged that her young kinswoman was blessed among women. She also saw that the Child Mary bore was blessed and – far more than that – He was her Lord. “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” (Luke 1:44-45).
At this moment, Elizabeth’s son is filled with grace and stripped of original sin. In the presence of the Messiah, John is given this immense gift that will enable him to become the one to prepare the way for Jesus. The Eternal Father has planned the world’s salvation through His Son’s surrender and suffering and the Holy Spirit’s grace and guidance. During Mary’s time with Elizabeth, they surely must have prayed together, praising God for the gift of the infants they carried within them. They must also have wondered about what God would ask of them, their children, and their husbands in the days and years ahead. Yet these women of faith held nothing back from the Almighty. While they looked after one another and did daily household tasks, they simply trusted Him. Looking back from our perspective, we see how the Old and New Testament met in the house of Zechariah and Elizabeth in the hill country of Judah. The Virgin Mother of Christ quietly and humbly did what she had always done and would always do – the will of God. It is what He asks of each of us today.