The Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
(Zephaniah 3:14-18a; Luke 1:39-56)
Visits usually are said to be visitations when they are pre-planned and follow a prescribed form. A bishop makes visitations to parishes to check financial and sacramental records. Families have visitation rights to see their loved ones in prison. Today the Church celebrates the most famous visitation of all: Mary going to the home of her kinswoman Elizabeth. Neither planned nor formal, her visit qualifies as a visitation because of the dignity of the one whom she carries in her womb.
Mary bears the Messiah, the anointed king of Israel. She takes him to meet the prophet of the country with whom he is to collaborate. Most people, of course, do not realize what is happening. But the child-prophet within Elizabeth’s womb has no trouble making recognizing his lord. He leaps for joy in his presence. Mary and Jesus will not stay very long, but the two –Jesus and John – will meet again.
The same Jesus makes more than a visitation to us. With the Father and the Holy Spirit he makes our souls a place of residence. That truth should make us joyful like John. We should also turn to him in every need. Whether to resist temptation or to find work, he is there to help us.