Gospel LK 1:39-45
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.”
Elizabeth is an amazing character with a wonderful story. She was barren and after many years of marriage, she despaired though she prayed, she would ever hold a child of hers in her arms. Her husband, a seasoned priest, unlike Mary, doubted the angel’s announcement to him and was struck dumb until the birth of his son. Both Elizabeth and Mary answered their ‘call’ from the angel Gabriel with not doubt but certainly with some confusion. They both asked the question, how? How is it that this is done to me? One woman elderly and barren and the other young and a virgin. The answer to both of the holy women’s question is, He comes. Jesus first came into our lives at his human birth in Bethlehem. And again, as we answered his call, Jesus came into our lives a second time, at our baptism and when we said, yes, he entered our hearts. He lives in our hearts where we will hear him and respond with leaps of joy.
Elizabeth and Mary are proof that God calls on his chosen and creates incredible good from humble beginnings. Jesus comes. Jesus came from his manger-throne. Jesus came from his tomb. Jesus will come again.
Good and gracious God, heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of Elizabeth who believed her prayers were answered as she carried St John the Baptist, who even from his mother’s womb knew the voice of his shepherd and responded with joy. We thank you for the gift of our Mother, Mary, who believed and carried the Son of Man into our lives. Above all, we thank you for the gift of Jesus, the babe who you sent to redeem us, the baby born a king. Help us to believe as the holy ones before us and carry the baby-king in our hearts, now and every day, as we await the second coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is in his name that we make our prayer. Amen.
Rev. Fr. John Bye-Torre, FCM
Pastor – St. Stephen American National Catholic Church