In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
When Mary wondered how she could be the mother of the Messiah as she was a virgin, Gabriel told her that the power of the Most High would do this. And to confirm this statement he told her that her cousin Elizabeth who had been barren and was now advanced in years had conceived and was in her sixth month. Mary believed his word and humbly accepted the role God had destined for her. She immediately set out to visit her cousin. Today’s gospel reading describes this visit.
What is this visit for us today? We are told that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, which means she is informed and inspired by God. Elizabeth was the first human being to proclaim the dignity, the special position given to Mary in God’s plan for our redemption. She said, “Blessed are thou amongst women.” And she addressed Mary as “the mother of my Lord.”
Yes, Mary was the one chosen from all eternity, from all the daughters of Eve to be the mother of the Incarnate Son of God, no greater dignity could be conferred on any creature on earth or in heaven. She is surely the “blessed one.”
The moment she accepted the angel’s announcement in Nazareth and said “be it done unto me according to thy word” she became the Mother of Christ, our Redeemer. And at that same moment she became our Mother also, because Christ has made us his brothers and sisters. We are fortunate and blest indeed to have such a Mother in heaven who loves and is supremely interested in us.
There is no stronger, no greater, no more unselfish love on earth than that of a mother for her child. Expecting nothing in return, an earthly mother will make any sacrifice even that of her own life, for the sake of her child. Mary, our Mother in heaven, has made a sacrifice for us, a sacrifice greater than any human mother could ever make, she offered her divine Son for us on Calvary and stood there to see him die slowly in agony for our sakes. Could we ever doubt her love for us and her supreme interest in us?
Let us thank God from our hearts at Christmas for sending his divine Son to redeem us, and for giving his Son and us a Mother “blessed among women” and greatest of all mothers. Amen.