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Thursday of the Third Week of Advent, December 21, 2023


Click on picture to go to the video.


Gospel

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.”


Reflection


I had the blessing of being able to go to the Holy Land a year and a half ago.  We went to Ein Karem in Jerusalem and visited the Church of the Visitation.  As we walked up the steep hill, I envisioned Mary walking in anticipation of seeing her cousin Elizabeth.  The view as I walked up was breathtaking and there was a gentle breeze that added to the beauty of all that could be seen.


When we reached the top, we waited until we were able to go into the church.  Our priest on this trip guided us through the murals on the wall that depicted the scenes that occurred.  Then he read the Gospel of Luke.  The very same reading from today.  We sang “Magnificat” and “The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came” during our time there.  We even had some time to quietly meditate on the Visitation in the Church.


Looking back at all that happened, I cannot help but think how sincere and real both Mary and Elizabeth were to each other.  They were not only present to themselves, but to each other and their babies.  They were talking as if their babies were present in a very real way as well.  And this is recorded in Scripture for all of us to learn from them.  They both believed and feared God in a profound way.  They dared to listen to Him and carry out His Will.  Their words were full of blessing, praise and thanksgiving to God.  I try to imagine myself there during this time. How did they learn such trust in the Lord?


Questions to meditate on today:


What does it mean to Pray, Serve and Bless as Mary did?


Do I love my neighbor enough to extend a helping hand even when I have my own issues to deal with?


What was the real purpose of the Visitation?



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