Zephaniah 3: 14-18
Luke 1: 39-56
"…..And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me………."
In today’s Gospel we read the story of the Visitation–Mary visiting with Elizabeth. On that special occasion, what gift did Mary bring to Elizabeth? We are told that she brought just one thing: HERSELF. She gave Elizabeth the gift of her very presence, the best and the hardest gift of all. Mary gave her the gift, not out of her convenience, but out of the need that Elizabeth had. It was not easy or convenient for Mary to travel that long, lonely, dangerous road from Galilee to the hills of Judea, but Elizabeth needed a helping hand preparing for the birth of her son, John the Baptist.
Mary was also a true Prophet in her time; a true prophet because she followed the same pattern as those prophets who went before her. God calls the prophet. The prophet says, "Here I am, Lord". God says, "Here’s what I want".
And then the prophet puts up a fight. Jeremiah says he’s too young. Moses protests that he is slow of speech. Amos argues that he is only a herdsman, and Jonah doesn’t say anything, he just runs away!
In like manner, Mary is called and is given a mission, and she has just one question about how this sign from God, this birth, can happen when she has no husband. She doesn’t run off or avoid the call: in fact, she runs towards someone to begin proclaiming what she knows to be true.
Pope Benedict reflected that the Visitation was more than just a trip into the country for a young girl from Nazareth. Mary embarked on the world’s first Eucharisitic procession. She carried Christ into the world. She was a living tabernacle and Elizabeth became the first to experience Eucharistic adoration.
Salvation history ends up in the hands of a teenager and an elderly woman, both preparing to give birth, both miraculous in their conception, and both of whom responded, "Here I am, Lord." BLESSED ARE THESE WOMEN, AND BLESSED THE FRUIT OF THEIR WOMB.
Deacon Brian Clements is a member of the retreat team at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, California