31 May – Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
you inspired the Virgin Mary, mother of your Son,
to visit Elizabeth and assist her in her need.
Keep us open to the working of your Spirit,
and with Mary may we praise you for ever
(Opening prayer on this feast day)
Shout for joy, daughter of Zion,
Israel, shout aloud!
Rejoice, exult with all your heart,
daughter of Jerusalem!
The Lord has repealed your sentence;
he has driven your enemies away.
The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst:
you have no more evil to fear.
When that day comes, word will come to Jerusalem;
Zion, have no fear,
do not let your hands fall limp.
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a victorious warrior.
He will exult with joy over you,
he will renew you by his love;
he will dance with shouts of joy for you
as on a day of festival.
Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made to her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’
And Mary said:
‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit exults in God my saviour;
because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.
Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,
for the Almighty has done great things to me.
Holy is his name,
and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.
He has shown the power of his arm,
he has routed the proud of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.
He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy
– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –
of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendents for ever.’
Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home.
Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?
Think back to a time when someone paid us an unexpected visit. What was our reaction? Most of the time, we prefer it when our visitor first gives us a call to let us know that they are coming, so that we have time to get the house in order, prepare food and drinks, and so on. What is it that we are really concerned about when someone visits? But if you think about it, if our visitor were really concerned about how we would appear to them, they would have called in advance before coming, wouldn’t they?
When Mary paid her cousin Elizabeth a visit, it was likely that Elizabeth was not expecting her. But Elizabeth welcomed her all the same. She was not so concerned about whether she had food to serve Mary or whether the house was tidy. Rather, she was more interested in her visitor, and we can see that in the joy she expressed in welcoming Mary into her own home. Her joy was doubled when she realized that Mary carried her Lord within her womb.
Likewise, when we welcome unexpected visitors into our own home, let us remember that the most important person is our visitor, not ourselves and how we appear to them. Let us welcome them with joy, not dismay, and perhaps through their visit, we may experience a visit from our Lord as well.
(Today’s reflection by Daniel Tay)
Prayer: We pray for all who are in the hospitality industry, that they may always welcome each person with genuine joy for the goodness of the person and who they may be carrying with them. Amen.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to all the visitors, expected and unexpected, who have visited us in our homes in the past, and will visit us in future.
01 Jun, Sun – Deuteronomy 11:18,26-28,32; Romans 3:21-25,28; Matthew 7:21-27; Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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