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 leapt 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 leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’
Part of Gabriel’s message to Mary was the news that her elderly relative was also to experience a miraculous birth. Gabriel tells Mary only that the pregnancy is far advanced, and that nothing is impossible with God. There is no mention of the role Elizabeth’s child is to play in preparing the way for her own son’s future mission and ministry to the world. Perhaps Mary understood, or perhaps she was overwhelmed with the news that she herself was to give birth to the one who: will be called the Son of the Most High. Whatever emotions and thoughts were swirling through Mary’s mind, scripture tells us that she went with haste to visit Elizabeth. Mary knew that she was not alone in her strange plight, there was at least one other person who might understand what she was going through.
When Mary arrived at the house of Zechariah and Elizabeth she was greeted in a way that must have both astonished her, and confirmed the truth of what was happening. Mary’s elderly relative exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Not only was the young girl being greeted with this amazing blessing, but Elizabeth went on to ask: And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?
Mary’s role in the history of humanity was unique, but that does not mean we do not have our own part to play in the Christian story. Mary was visited by an angel and accepted the challenge of becoming the mother of the Son of God without hesitation or reservation. She journeyed to her relative, Elizabeth, and was recognized as being the bearer of that precious child. We are also called to bear the light, peace and love of God in every fibre of our being. We are called, like Mary, to journey in faith as we show that her acceptance of God’s will can be seen in the way we live every moment of our lives. Then, as we live the life of faith, others will come to greet us as the bearers of all that God continues to offer to this world.
Let us pray that we might journey in faith, in light, in peace and in love, as we draw closer to the celebration of Christ’s Incarnation. Let us pray that we might never shrug off God’s call to us as being the responsibility of others. Let us pray that we might rejoice in the opportunities we are given to be the bearers of Christ’s forgiveness and redemption to all whom we meet.