Each year the gospel passage for this Sunday is a story of Mary’s pregnancy, and for this year it is the visitation. We meditate on this story as the second joyful mystery of the rosary, so that this could be an opportunity to go into it deeper than we usually can in saying the rosary, and this would give depth to the way we say that prayer which plays an important part in the lives of many people.
It is the story of two pregnant women and, therefore, an opportunity to enter into the symbolism of that experience, especially for those who have gone through it, seeing it as a symbol of how waiting can be a creative time, one when we express our love and one also when we can unmask all the self-centeredness that is latent within us and blocks our ability to give ourselves wholeheartedly to others. Of course, it could also be a meditation on the sacredness of pregnancy itself.
Mary should be the main focus of our attention, symbol at this moment of her life of the person of faith, and indeed of the church. Particularly significant is the expression “blessed” that is attributed to her by Elizabeth; we must give the word its full biblical meaning, indicating that a person has a great gift from God and also that he or she has brought blessings to others. Mary’s blessedness in this passage is simply that she has faith, no great achievements or visible signs of God’s favour.
One of Mary’s first recorded journeys was after the announcement to her that she was to be the mother of God. It was a journey of service, a visit to her cousin who needed help. When dealing with such challenges as pregnancy bereavement redundancy a son in prison or a daughter on drugs – we want to talk and we want support.
Mary and Elizabeth had something else to share – their faith. The prayers they said have been said ever since. The stage was small but the audience has been millions ever since. They were not shy about their faith in their God. In a time like ours we need to externalize our faith – to go to Church, send a card with a Christmas greeting, not just a season’s wish – not to parade, but to make present our faith.
The meaning this week is – Jesus is born, and we celebrate that together, with thanks, music, socializing, prayer and Mass. We need to find God again, and let ourselves be open to him in the deepest areas of life, just like the husbands of both these women, Joseph and Zechariah, as well as their wives, were open to God. Nothing need keep us from God or from the crib at Christmas. All are welcome. The real meaning of Christmas is to meet with God and to help our neighbour.
Come Lord Jesus and bring joy and laughter among us. Come with, the music of eternity and the songs of the earth.
Come among us and make us truly grateful for you birth and your love.