The Lord has visited his people
1.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, “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(Lk1:39-45). Taken from today’s gospel for 4th Sunday of Advent.
2. In few days time, the time of waiting for the Lord will be over and we shall begin the celebration of the visitation of the Lord to his people. This visitation was foretold long ago by almost all the prophets of the past. God, for whom a thousand years is like yesterday come and gone, took his time to plan this project of visiting his people. The first concrete step towards its realization was the conception of John the Baptist, followed by the announcement of his incarnation to Mary and Mary’s acceptance of playing a key role in the realization of the project by accepting the proposal to be the mother of the visiting Lord. When Mary has conceived the Lord in her womb through her fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum, she immediately decided to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Today’s gospel is entirely on that visitation.
3. Mary made a journey of about fifty miles to a hilly town of Judea. She has so many reasons not to undertake the journey: it was far, the roads was hilly but she has more reasons to make the journey. She needed to rejoice with her cousin who has received great favour from God. She needed to be of help to her as her time of childbearing draws near. She put aside her great position as one who carries God in her womb, one whom the Archangel greeted as full of grace.
4. When she entered Zacharias’ house and greeted Elizabeth the entire household was filled with the grace of her charming personality. Her presence was so splendid that the baby in the womb of Elizabeth noticeably leapt with joy and Elizabeth was filled with Holy Spirit and she began to make prophetic statements. She wondered why such a great woman should visit: who am I that the mother of my Lord should visit me. She declared Mary the most blessed of all women. She praised her for accepting that what was promised by the Lord should be fulfilled through her.
5. This visitation of Mary poses a lot of challenges for us who are her children. It should lead us to examine our maintenance of our family links. Today people no longer value visiting their relatives either because they have become richer or poorer. The poor hesitate to visit the rich because they don’t want to be taken for beggars while the rich hesitate to visit the poor because in their head it is the poor that should visit so that he will receive something from the rich. Mary by visiting Elizabeth has smashed this logic. Elizabeth was overjoyed that such great cousin had time for her. Mary’s presence brought joy because she has God in her. Some people’s presence are always greeted with sigh and their absence is greeted with praises to God. I once heard a child say: thank God that daddy will not come back today. Such prayers show that the dad is not a source of joy for the child. Mary challenges us to strive to put joy in people’s faces by our presence. Pope Francis had to write an apostolic exhortation on the joy of the gospel ‘Evangelii gaudium’ to teach us that joy is a christian virtue that every christian should strive to promote. We can cultivate this joy easily by living out the will of God in our life as Mary did by accepting to be the mother of Jesus and abandoning her initial plan of founding a family with Joseph.
6. Christmas is here. Please visit your relatives. Rekindle the dying fires of family links. Be a source of joy to those who encounter you beginning with your family members. God has visited his people. His people must visit themselves. ©Vita, 19/12/21.