The Visitation

Scripture Reading
Mary set out in those days
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth. 
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 
For 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 1:39-45)

 

Scripture Study

1:41 leaped in her womb: Elizabeth’s experience parallels that of Rebekah in Gen 25. ● Both Luke and the Greek OT use the same verb (Gk. skirtaō) to describe children leaping or stirring in the womb. As Rebekah’s experience signaled the preeminence of Jacob over his older brother Esau (Gen 25:22–23), so the similar experience of Elizabeth was a sign that Jesus would be greater than his older cousin John (3:16; Jn 3:27–30).

1:42 Blessed are you: Elizabeth blesses Mary with words once spoken to Jael and Judith in the OT (Judg 5:24–27; Jud 13:18). ● These women were blessed for their heroic faith and courage in warding off enemy armies hostile to Israel. Victory was assured when both Jael and Judith assassinated the opposing military commanders with a mortal blow to the head. Mary will follow in their footsteps, yet in her case both the enemy destroyed and the victory won will be greater, for she will bear the Savior who crushes the head of sin, death, and the devil underfoot (Gen 3:15; 1 Jn 3:8) (CCC 64, 489).

1:43 mother of my Lord: This title reveals the twin mysteries of Jesus’ divinity and Mary’s divine maternity (CCC 449, 495). Note that every occurrence of the word Lord in the immediate (1:45) and surrounding context refers to God (1:28, 32, 38, 46, 58, 68). ● Mary’s divine motherhood was the first Marian dogma expounded by the Church. The Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (a.d. 431) defined her unique relationship to Christ and honored her with the title “Mother of God” (Gk. Theotokos). This was reaffirmed in 1964 at Vatican II (Lumen Gentium, 53).[1]

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today’s Gospel tells of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth. I’ve always been fascinated by Mary’s “haste” in this story of the Visitation. Upon hearing the message of Gabriel concerning her own pregnancy and that of her cousin, Mary “proceeded in haste into the hill country of Judah” to see Elizabeth.

Why did she go with such speed and purpose? Because she had found her mission, her role in the theo-drama. We are dominated today by the ego-drama in all of its ramifications and implications. The ego-drama is the play that I’m writing, I’m producing, I’m directing, and I’m starring in. We see this absolutely everywhere in our culture. Freedom of choice reigns supreme: I become the person that I choose to be.

The theo-drama is the great story being told by God, the great play being directed by God. What makes life thrilling is to discover your role in it. This is precisely what has happened to Mary. She has found her role—indeed a climactic role—in the theo-drama, and she wants to conspire with Elizabeth, who has also discovered her role in the same drama. And like Mary, we have to find our place in God’s story.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV. 

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch, “Introduction to the Gospels,” in The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 106.