Zephaniah 3:14-18a or Romans 12:9-16
"…And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me…."
So many events in Scripture would never have occurred if humans had not believed enough to act in spite of their doubts and fears. In story after story we read that people are essential to carrying out God’s plan for humankind. From Abraham and Sarah to Mary and Elizabeth, and continuing right down through the centuries to the present day, God inspires us to speak those courageous words, to offer that consoling message, to say "Here I am" to what we are asked to do.
Today’s Feast is the joining of the stories of two women, Mary, a teenager and Elizabeth, an elderly woman. The angel informs Mary that Elizabeth, her cousin, is pregnant, and immediately Mary begins her journey to see how she can help. It was not easy or convenient for Mary to travel that long, lonely, dangerous road to the hills of Judea, but Mary knew that Elizabeth needed a helping hand to prepare for the birth of her son, John the Baptist.
Mary arrives at the door bearing Jesus in her womb. That’s how simple it is sometimes to spread the Good News…show up with Christ formed deep within you…and you are indeed preaching, without saying anything more than "Here I am."
Mary, filled with grace, proclaims "…my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant….and has done great things for me…."
When we come to Mass, we lay before Him all that we are, all that we need, and all that we can become. We approach the Eucharistic table with a desire to become the best version of the person that God created us to be…to be FULL OF GRACE. At the moment of Communion with the Lord, we become filled with the Divine Spirit…FULL OF GRACE, and in that experience of joining our lives to His, a spiritual connection between the Redeemer and the redeemed occurs, and God’s unconditional love abounds…AND CHARITY MUST FOLLOW….
Today’s Gospel is a celebration that seems to demonstrate that one of the blessings of a grace-filled life is a spirit of gratitude that results in generosity. The MAGNIFICAT is an example of gratitude and the VISITATION teaches us generosity.
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 who responded, " Here I am."
Deacon Brian Clements was formerly a member of the staff at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, California