Feast of The Visitation 2011

13 July Anno + Domini 2011 (Observed)
"Blessed Are You!”

Luke 1:39-55

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Imagine the scene:  The young virgin maiden Mary pays a visit to her much older, and should-be barren, cousin, Elizabeth.  Neither of them should be pregnant, and yet they both are.  And, neither of them should know about the other's pregnancy - no word from one to the other has been sent; no email or text message has been sent; no posting on Facebook to announce either's miraculous conception - and yet, they know.  The Lord has sent His messenger to them and they know.  They know because they believe that the Lord's messenger told them the truth.  They are filled with the Holy Spirit and believe.  And, more than that, they are filled, that is, pregnant, with the two most important figures of all time:  St. John the Baptist, whom Our Lord calls the greatest of those born of women, and Our Lord God, Jesus Christ.  

But, what is even more amazing than the fact that Mary and Elizabeth know full well, without ever having communicated with one another, that each is pregnant is the fact that the two babies in their wombs know each other.  Already, while yet in the womb, these two cousins are communicating.  The Lord is preaching to John, preparing him for his office.  From inside his mother's womb, St. John hears the greeting of his Lord's mother to his own mother and leaps for joy. His mother, being full of the Holy Spirit, then prophesies: "Blessed is she who has believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."

Blessed indeed, Elizabeth!  As are you, dear woman, who carries in your womb the forerunner of your Lord.  Both of these women are blessed, and we continue to acknowledge that in the Church through the ages, and will continue to do so until our Lord returns on the Last Day.

But, dear friends, neither the Blessed Virgin Mother of our Lord nor the Blessed Mother of His forerunner would have us focus on them.  Both would have us focus our attention on the Savior in Mary's womb, our Lord Jesus Christ, who took on our human flesh in order to live and die in our place and win our salvation. 

The prophecy given to Elizabeth concerning Mary is that she is blessed for believing that the Word of God is true.  That is also true for you:  Blessed are you who believe what God says, who trust God's Word.  Blessed are you who believe that what the Lord has said to you will be accomplished. 

And, what has the Lord has said to you, dear friends?  He has said: "You are Mine. I gave you My Name when you were baptized into Me - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  I claim you as My child and give you citizenship in My eternal Kingdom."  He has said: "I forgive you all your sins on account of my Son who lived and died for you.  Your sins are gone.  I remember them no more."  He has said: "Take, eat, this is My Body.  Take, drink, this is My Blood shed for you, for the forgiveness of your sins.  I am in you and you are in Me.  I am with you always."  He has said: "You are my precious little lamb, for whom I laid down My Life, and no one shall pluck you from My Hand."  He has said: "You are my beloved child, perfect and without sin, spotless and blameless and the gates of Hell shall not overcome you."

Blessed are you who believe what the Lord says to you, for such faith will not be disappointed.  You believe because the same Holy Spirit who overshadowed the Blessed Virgin Mary and filled her blessed cousin, Elizabeth, has impregnated you with faith by the Word spoken in your ears and applied with water to your heads.  And, through the same Word which brought you to that faith, you are kept in the belief that gifts you with forgiveness, life, and salvation. 

Nazareth and Bethlehem were backwater villages of no reputation, no strategic value, no abundance of natural resources.  And yet, today there are scarcely any places so famous.  So also Mary and Elizabeth.  Nobodies.  But God elevated them to great positions and we're still considering how blessed they were by our Lord nearly two thousand years after they lived.  In the grand scheme of things, you may consider yourself to be a nobody, but you are no less a nobody than Mary or Elizabeth.  The God who is not far off, loves and knows you so intimately and personally that every hair on your head is counted.  He notices you and is interested in you.  He cares for you.  His angels rejoice over your repentance and faith.  His words of comfort and promise to you are not empty vanities or mindless flattery.  They are words that are, and will be, fulfilled, as sure as the Virgin pure bore a Son.

Come, then, and be filled with the Word Incarnate by means of His very Body and Blood in the Holy Supper.  This is the Food you need to sustain you in your journey through the wilderness of this sinful world.  Receive it in repentance and faith, and depart in peace, singing the Magnificat with the Blessed Virgin, for it is most certainly true that the Lord has looked upon your humble estate and done great things for you.  He has brought you from death to life and has in store for you eternal blessings that cannot even be fathomed by our futile human reason.  Holy is His Name - Jesus, your Savior, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary to live, die, rise, ascend, and return in great glory for you!  In Him you have life and have it to the full!  Amen.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.