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Luke 1:39-45

The Word of God

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord."

Luke 1:39-45
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    • Here we see the meeting of two mothers, eager to support and help each other at a time of major change in their lives. Both reach out in love and rejoice in the work of God in their live
    • There is no such thing as a purely ‘spiritual’ love. True love literally ‘em-bodies’ the whole person – spirit, mind, emotion and body. Mary, filled with the Spirit, will soon break out into that wonderful hymn of praise that we call the Magnificat.
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    • Mary brought God to Elizabeth in her heart and in her womb. We bring God to everyone we meet, and everyone we meet brings God to us.
    • Mary was called to cooperate in the salvation of the world. Her first thought was to go and visit her older cousin, who was in need. Is there anyone who needs me today?
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    • Birth, the gift of life from God, fruitfulness was always sacred to the people of Israel; and the mothers had a special place down through sacred history – as the bearers of life. Mary and Elizabeth outdo one another, as it were, in giving thanks.
    • But this particular case is special, unique. Jesus, the child that Mary is carrying, is recognised by the child in Elizabeth’s womb - John leaps in recognition of the one whom both mothers revere as ‘Lord’ (John himself being of miraculous origin from an elderly mother).
    • And above and beyond what is happening to each mother, earthshaking events are in train - the Lord (long awaited) has finally come to visit his people, to be victorious over enemies, to exult with joy over those who are his own.
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    • The journey from Nazareth to Ein Karim was long and uncomfortable. Mary, who carries the secret- she is the womb of God. This visitation was a Eucharistic moment. The light of Christ comes to Elizabeth through Mary. Both women rejoice! Mary’s one desire is to go out in loving service to help her pregnant cousin.
    • Lord, as Christmas draws ever closer free me from being self-absorbed and self-centred. Instead fill me with eagerness and generosity of heart. Like Mary, may I too go out in loving service of others and experience your Love leaping up in me and in those with whom I come in contact.
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    • I marvel at the instincts and insight of mothers. While husband Zechariah is baffled and struck dumb, and foster-father Joseph has misgivings, it is a woman, Elizabeth, herself pregnant, who recognises the action of the Lord in her young cousin. She is given the special grace of an intimate appreciation of what is happening and who is really present.
    • In life do I always appreciate what is happening and who is really present?
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    • What a wonderful encounter: two women, bound by kinship, both bearing sons, both blest by the Lord. How affirming to Mary that the revelation made to her, is understood by her kinswoman. Do I have someone with whom I can share what God is doing in my life? Can others share their news with me?
    • Elizabeth is the first to bear witness to the Lord’s presence in our world. We can bear witness and encourage each other along the way. Helping another to notice God brings hope and consolation, way beyond our expectation.
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    • John leapt for joy in the presence of his Lord. Earlier David ‘danced before the Lord with all his might’. The Psalmist tells us to ‘shout for joy’. Saint Paul urges us to ‘sing and make melody to the Lord with all our heart’. It is the child in us who can truly be open to God’s constant invitation to be born again, to be part of the creation which is itself constantly being recreated.
    • Lord, every time we come before you, let us cry out as Peter did during Jesus’ transfiguration, ‘Master, it is wonderful for us to be here!’
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    • Imagine this meeting, not of two people, but of four. The forerunner and the Messiah are physically present, each in the womb of his mother. Here, a young Galilean carries within her womb the one ‘who is and who was and who is to come’. At this remarkable point in time and space the new covenant of God with his people is beginning. That covenant is renewed daily in my own life!
    • Lord, you speak to me from the whole of Scripture. Do I hear your words? Or do I refuse to believe that fulfillment awaits me when I discover and follow your will for me?
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    • This scene belongs to two strong women who share the joy of bringing the good news of salvation into the world. I thank God for all women who play their part in serving the plans of God.
    • The child leaped for joy.’ In Luke’s Gospel, joy emerges wherever Jesus is. Angels and shepherds rejoice at his birth. His disciples cannot fast and mourn while he is around. Zacchaeus rejoices when Jesus comes to his house. The disciples at Emmaus were overcome when they recognised Jesus as their companion, and the Gospel ends with the disciples returning to Jerusalem with great joy. I ask that I may also be full of joy because Jesus is near.
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    • The Spirit of God in Elizabeth rejoiced in the presence of Mary. I pray for those who have been friends to me, for all whose companionship or example lifts my heart.
    • An expectant mother, Mary set out on her journey. She carried the Word within her. I draw inspiration from this scene and see in it a reminder of who I am this day: I carry the word of God in me as nourishment for me and for those around me.