Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection May 31, 2024


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R/. Great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

V/. Alleluia

R/. Alleluia

V/. Blessed are you Virgin Mary, who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to you from the Lord.

R/. Alleluia.

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring for ever.” And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

1.      Mary visits Elizabeth, and this visitation is very significant. It is not just a courtesy visit. It is not only a great act of charity and service to Elizabeth in need during her pregnancy. It is deeply symbolic and efficacious, as it indicates the very visitation of God Himself and its effects on humanity.

2.       In the Bible through the history of salvation, the visitation of God signifies His active and liberative intervention in the life of His people. Accordingly, “God visits” signifies that God is encountering and gracing that person or that community. Today in the visitation of Mary, the same thing happens: The Saviour, conceived in Mary’s womb, visits Elizabeth and graces her and her family, who symbolizes the whole of humanity.

3.       Mary is the perfect embodiment of God’s will and presence and the abode of Jesus. She bears him within and shares him with others. She nurtures him within and extends the same experience to others. What happens when God visits humanity in the person of Mary? This is what is concretely seen in the scene of the Visitation.

4.       At the sight and encounter with Mary, two things happen: Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit, and the babe in her womb leaps with joy. Jesus, channelled and mediated, transmitted and extended through Mary, gives the Holy Spirit and joy.

5.       Thus, the effects of visitation are quite clear: Holy Spirit and joy. These two are the greatest signs and testimonies of the presence and the experience of God: when we have the Lord within us, we are able to transmit Holy Spirit to others and move and fill others with the same Spirit, and we are able to ignite others with true and deep joy.

6.       The visitation of Mary reminds us of our own vocation and mission. Bear Jesus and share Jesus. When we have Jesus and give him to others, we too will be able to transmit the Holy Spirit and joy to others. But whenever we spread only evil spirit and unhappiness to others, it is a clear sign that we are not bearing Jesus within us, and we do not carry God’s experience and presence.

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