May 31, 2017


May 31, 2017:  Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

See 11 connections with today?
Legend below

Magnificat settings (gospel)

For the canticle
As we prepare to celebrate the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, our catechesis on Christian hope turns to the Spirit and his saving work.   Paul prays that “the God of hope” will make us “abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  As a gift of the Spirit, hope is both an anchor giving us security amid life's storms, and a “sail” driving us towards the safe harbor of eternal life.  The Spirit bears witness within us to the consoling truth of God’s promises and the inheritance awaiting us as his beloved children.  Filled with this hope, we can become “consolers in the image of the Paraclete… advocates, helpers, and bringers of comfort” to others (Cardinal Newman).  The Spirit, who brings hope to all creation, also inspires in us love and respect for this world.  May Pentecost find us, like Mary and the Apostles, gathered in prayer, and may the gift of the Spirit make us “abound in hope.”

  • 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 known his name and deeds.  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.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "The simplicity of Pentecost":  All Christians are to receive Pentecost and give it to others.  At the first Christian Pentecost, 123 received the Holy Spirit in the morning, then gave the Spirit to almost 3,000 later that day.  Let the Spirit come to you and through you.  Many doubt they can give Pentecost to others, paralyzed by fear, feelings of inadequacy, or self-hatred.  They find it difficult to see themselves preach, heal, and pry like Peter, Paul, and Mary.  Today's feast gives us hope.  Mary brought Jesus and the Spirit to Elizabeth and John not by extraordinary works but by obeying the Lord in little things.  Mary visited Elizabeth, whom she loved and served; we can do as she did.  We give Pentecost to others by obeying the Lord.  The Spirit is "given to [and through] those who obey him."
  • Passionist:  In today's gospel, Mary, having heard the angel tell her she'd give birth to the Messiah, traveled quickly (likely with difficulty in her 2nd trimester) to Elizabeth and Zechariah's house, where she found her elderly cousin pregnant.  Elizabeth, thought barren, was now carrying John the Baptist.  Both women were in the middle of miraculous pregnancies, having had world-changing encounters with God.   Spirit-filled Elizabeth cried out, "Blessed are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  And how does it happen that the mother of my Lord should come to me?," and Mary responded "My soul proclaims the Lord's greatness...."
    Visitation/ Sr. Mary Southard, CSJ
    At the moment the Messiah's mother greeted the Forerunner's mother, John leaped for joy in the 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 pointed the way to Christ.  Mary brought Christ to Elizabeth, John, and the world.  When I read how she reacted when Elizabeth saw her, and how John leapt when he recognized Christ in her, it heightened my understanding of what it means to look for God in every person, every encounter.  Then I reflected on my own vocation.  I hope I help people see God’s presence in their lives and grow in their relationship with God.  I want to look for God's face in everyone I meet and in every experience.  The faces of even those we don’t care for are the faces of Christ.  We're all called to be like Mary and bring Christ to our world, and to be like John and point the way to him.  In all we do and experience, God is there, and we're called to see and announce him.  "He hasn't left the womb but speaks by leaping; he can't cry out but his actions make him heard; he hasn't seen the light but he points out the Sun” (John Chrysostom re John the Baptist).
      Ask, "Who have I been Christ to today?  Who has been Christ to me today?  How have I failed today in being and recognizing Christ?"  Lord, help us see you in the face of every person and be your face to everyone we meet.
      •  "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."

      The Visitation/ Rembrandt
      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.
      Dress legend
      • Tie with hearts:  Exult with all your heart; he'll renew you in his love (1st reading); love one another (2nd reading)
      • 'Crown' tie bar:  The King of Israel is in your midst (1st reading)
      • 'Phone' tie bar:  Mary 'called' on Elizabeth (gospel)
      • 'Dove' pin:  Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit (gospel)
      • 'Eyeball' pin:  God has looked with favor on his lowly servant (gospel)
      • 'Visitation/Magnificat' pin for gospel and feast
      • 'Sailboat' tie bar:  Hope is a 'sail' (Pope audience)
      • Blue in shirt:  "Blessed Mother blue" (feast); "With joy you'll draw water at the fount of salvation" (canticle)
      • White in shirt and socks:  Easter season 

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