The Gospel According to Luke 1:39-56
During those days Mary set out 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.” And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
Reflection: We celebrate the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth. The gospel talks of love, selflessness and the divine purity of Mary. When Mary heard of the news from Archangel Gabriel, she immediately came to the aid of her cousin, who was suffering a great deal; being pregnant at a more major age and having a mute husband. Elizabeth after greeting her cousin felt the baby in her womb rejoiced. We are now called to follow her example, not because we must, but because, like Mary, we truly care. In times of trials, enemies, evil and stubbornness, we must open our heart, mind and soul to prayer and our beloved faith.
Today’s Gospel is reminding us that we must cleanse our conscience of temptation and guilt, in order to prevent our hearts from being closed off to what serves us goodness and peace. It’s also calling us to welcome our neighbors as Elizabeth had welcomed Mary into her home. We have a non-profit here in Long Beach, called We Love LB. It was started by this simple message love your neighbor and be welcoming and accepting towards each of them. It started with a simple pancake breakfast each Saturday in a local park. We started feeding the homeless, none of the neighbors came…but soon the neighborhood came to see what was happening and joined in. That was almost twenty years ago and today its simple message has grown all over Long Beach, to block parties, mom groups, dad groups, ice cream socials, neighbors knowing and helping neighbors who look and speak differently than each other. Can you imagine if all our neighborhoods tried this simple but effective way to get to know at least three of your neighbors from each side of your home, across the street and the ones behind you.
When we open our door, we will find ourselves in our home, safe and comfortable. God will prepare our life path full of different people, with different stories, and intentions. No matter what, Mary’s visitation teaches us that we should always be welcoming and accepting towards the visitors who come to see us. We must be hospitable and help our neighbors as much as we can.
Action of the Day: Do you know the neighbors in your neighborhood? If not, I encourage you to invite as many of your neighbors to your home and get to know them. You will not be disappointed, and you will find new ways to be the hands and face of Christ to those who don’t know Him.