Posts Tagged ‘he has lifted up the lowly’

Prayer and Meditation for Friday, May 31, 2013: Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

May 30, 2013

Related image

The Visitation, from Altarpiece of the Virgin — Art By Jacques Daret (c. 1404 – c. 1470)

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Lectionary: 572

Reading 1 Zep 3:14-18a

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart,  O daughter Jerusalem! The LORD has removed the judgment against you, he has turned away your enemies; The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst, you have no further misfortune to fear. On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem: Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged! The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, He will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals.

Or Rom 12:9-16

Brothers and sisters: Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation.

Responsorial Psalm Is 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6

R. (6) Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel. God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior. With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation. R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel. Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name; among the nations make known his deeds, proclaim how exalted is his name. R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel. Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement; let this be known throughout all the earth. Shout with exultation, O city of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel! R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.

Gospel Lk 1:39-56

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 with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.”
Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
Homily Ideas for the Visitation

I treasure this reading commonly known as “The Visitation” for many reasons.  For one thing, the story prominently features two women – Mary and Elizabeth.  What a refreshing change from the Patriarchal bias found all over the Bible that tends to push the women into the margins of the story. (A tendency that continues on into the Church…. but that’s a tale for another day.)

Notice the intimate experience of God and relationship in the story.  Elizabeth is so “filled with the Holy Spirit” she can’t help but cry out in joy.  Mary, too, is overwhelmed with God’s presence, moving her to profess one of the great prayers of praise in the Catholic tradition (The Magnificat) which begins with the words: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.”

The connection between the two women, described by Luke as “cousins”, is so deep that Elizabeth instinctly knows the miracle that has happened to Mary (“the baby leapt in my womb”) before Mary does or says anything.   The story concludes by simply stating that Mary “remained with Elizabeth for three months” – presumably, in a spirit of deep and abiding friendship.

No coincidences there.  An intimate relationship with God inevitably leads us to intimate relationships with others.  And intimate relationships with others inevitably leads us into an intimate relationship with God.  Such a circle of abiding Love can’t help but produce within us into a deep concern for and commitment to the poor and lowly – a major theme of the entire Magnificat!

Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)