May 31, 2016

Mary's Visitation

May 31, 2016:  Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

  • Tie with hearts:  Exult with all your heart; he'll renew you in his love (1st reading); love one another (2nd reading)
  • Blue in shirt and suspenders:  "Blessed Mother blue" (feast); "With joy you'll draw water at the fount of salvation" (canticle)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  Mary 'called' on Elizabeth (gospel)
  • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit (gospel)
  • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  God has looked with favor on his lowly servant. (gospel)
  • 'Visitation/Magnificat' pin for gospel and feast
  • Green in shirt:  Ordinary Time season

Magnificat settings (gospel)
Today's liturgy is full of joy that arrives like fresh air to fill our lives.  Christians with a grimace, sad Christians, are an ugly thing, but they're not fully Christian, even if they think they are.
Have an attitude of service, of helping others.  Mary sets off immediately with courage to visit her cousin, despite being pregnant and despite the risk of robbers along the way.  Courageous women in the Church are like Mary.  They bring up their families, rear their children, face hardships and pain, look after the sick….   They help others.  Serving others is a Christian sign.  Whoever doesn’t live to serve doesn’t serve to live.  Serving others and being joyful is the attitude I underline today.
Reaching out and meeting others is also important.  Mary and her cousin greeted each other with joy.  If we all serve and reach out, how much our world would change!  Reaching out is another Christian sign.  Persons who call themselves Christian but don't reach out aren't totally Christian.  Serving and reaching out both require going out of yourself.  Through Mary’s service and encounter, our Lord’s promise is renewed now, as it was then.  "The Lord, your God, is in your midst."  The Lord is about meeting and helping others.

  • Zep 3:14-18a  Shout for joy!  The Lord is in your midst and has removed the judgment against you.  Fear not!  The Lord will rejoice over you and renew you in his love.
    Visitation/ Giotto
  • Rom 12:9-16  Let love be sincere:  honor, be fervent, serve God, rejoice, endure suffering, keep praying, help the needy, be hospitable, bless your persecutors, weep with those who weep, and associate with the lowly.
  • Is 12:2-3, 4bcd-6  "Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel."  God is my savior, strength, and courage.  With joy you'll draw water at the fount of salvation.  Thank and praise the Lord; make his name and deeds known.  Shout with exultation!
  • Lk 1:39-56  Mary traveled to Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth, who cried, “Blessed are you and the fruit of your womb.  And how does my Lord's mother come to me?  When I heard you, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed are you who believed God's word to you would be fulfilled.”  Mary:  “My soul proclaims the Lord's greatness; my spirit rejoices in God who looked on his servant.  All will call me blessed:  the Almighty is holy and has done great things for me.  He has mercy, showed strength, scattered the proud, cast down the mighty, lifted up the lowly, filled the hungry, sent away the rich, and helped Israel by remembering the promise he made to our fathers.”  Mary remained with her about three months, then returned.
      • Magnificat poem, by Fr. Peter J. Liuzzi, O.Carm
      I received a greeting card with Sr. Mary Southard's Visitation image, and message "In each encounter, the Life within is ignited, begins to glow, to dance, to grow."  We can all relate or aspire to “igniting Life,” or bringing Christ into the world in joyful ways.  We are to nurture the essence of Christ within us, to share the good news, to model God's joy and love in word and action.  May Mary and Elizabeth continue to be models for us.
      • One Bread, One Body:  "Late, great Pentecosts":  If you've received the Holy Spirit, you're acting like Mary, likely visiting people to share with them Jesus in you.  As you do, they're filled with the Spirit too.  Pentecost is contagious, catalytic.  One leads to another.  On the first Christian Pentecost, 120 received the Spirit in the morning, 3,000 by evening.  The Spirit renews the earth with momentum.  If you're moving in the Spirit, and visiting, don't stop; otherwise ask Mary to visit you and help you move better.
        Visitation/ Sr. Mary Southard, CSJ
      • Passionist:  After the angel told Mary she'd give birth to the Messiah, she hastened to Elizabeth's house and found her pregnant too.  John leaped for joy in Elizabeth’s womb.  “Though you haven't seen him, you love him; and though you don't see him now, you believe in him and are filled with joy.”  Even before his birth, John the Baptist was pointing the way to Christ.  What has God been calling me to grow into?  Mary brought Christ to Elizabeth, John, and the world, and Elizabeth and John recognized Christ within Mary.  As Mary, may I reveal Christ to the world, and as John, may I look for Christ in everyone I meet and experience and point the way; may I see and announce him.  "[John] has not yet left the womb but speaks by leaping; he can't cry out but makes himself heard by his actions; he hasn't seen the light but points out the Sun" (John Chrysostom).  Today:  Who have you been Christ to?  Who has been Christ to you?
      •  "Joyful anticipation of the Messiah":  Mary was blessed with being the mother of the Son of God, but that blessedness became a sword piercing her as he died.  "Without God's Son nothing could exist; without Mary's son, nothing could be redeemed" (Anselm).   To be chosen by God is a privilege and responsibility.  Mary received a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow, but her joy, fueled by her faith, hope, and trust  in God, was not diminished by her sorrow.  Jesus promised, "no one will take your joy from you."
      When Elizabeth greeted Mary and recognized the Messiah in Mary's womb, they were filled with the Holy Spirit and joyful anticipation of the fulfillment of God's promise of a Savior.  John, even before the birth of the Messiah, pointed to him as the Spirit revealed his presence.  The Spirit enables us to know and experience God and his kingdom.  May we through the Spirit live in the joy and knowledge of God's presence.

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