The visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Luke 1:39-56

The Gospel of today is dominated by two women; they own every line and sentence and become for us models of faith. On the surface they seem to be ‘lowly’ and perhaps even women who carry a shame. Mary was with child before she was engaged to Joseph and Elizabeth was barren; a first century Jewish shame that made society look down on you. Yet it is these two women who are blessed because they lived their faith.

Mary, we are told, sets out ‘in haste’ to meet Elizabeth, her cousin. Mary was fully conscious of her new status; she was the mother of God. Yet she does not pull rank but places herself at service. Remember she left in haste, not to declare proudly her new position but to be of service to her cousin, now advanced in age and well advanced in her pregnancy. She goes to ‘greet’ her cousin. Mary celebrates the joy of her relatives; there are no pangs of jealousy just zeal to share in the joy of others.

The scriptures record very little of Elizabeth. However, she too like Mary is a great woman of faith. Unlike her husband Zechariah, who heard the message of the angel and doubted, Elizabeth had no doubts. Unlike Mary who was a young woman, Elizabeth was well advanced in age. The Gospel tells us that on hearing the greeting of Mary the babe in Elizabeth’s womb leapt. It is later in verse 44 that Elizabeth confesses that this was not just an ordinary baby kick but that this leaping was joyful.

Interestingly, up to this moment Elizabeth has no clue why Mary has come to visit her. Then in verse 41b we are told that she was filled with the Holy Spirit. Now the wisdom of God is revealed to her. She now proclaims what no one else knew and what not even Mary has revealed to her. The power of the Holy Spirit is revealed all through the infancy narratives. Mary conceives by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit fills Elizabeth to reveal what no one knows and Simeon is directed by the Holy spirit to seek Jesus in the temple. Which prompts me to ask, are we in tune with the Holy Spirit?

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