The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Gospel – Luke 1: 39-56
Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.”
Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
We turn to Luke’s Gospel this Sunday as we recall that “Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” Mary’s decision to travel to see Elizabeth may have been motivated by both a practical desire to offer her older cousin comfort and support in her pregnancy, as well as to receive Elizabeth’s maternal mentoring in her own newly confirmed pregnancy. Mary may also have been prompted to reach out and love Elizabeth in a spiritual way.
Upon greeting one another, their interactions create a scene of a powerful antiphonal-like prayer. Elizabeth’s prayer is proclaimed in response to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Mary’s prayerful response is the beautiful song of praising God that includes a powerful proclamation of the coming justice of God’s reign. Both women demonstrate a bond of community between them that compelled them to share their joys and sorrows with one another.
Mary’s openness to the will of God, conforming her life to it, shows us how to live a life of true discipleship. Elizabeth, in turn, is gifted with faith to respond with a deep spiritual awareness that Mary has trusted in God’s faithfulness and now has been chosen for an active role in salvation history. These two women model for us that we too can realize God’s promises being fulfilled in the lives of those who have faith and trust.
When we pray this week, perhaps we can discern what person(s) God might be calling us to comfort or with whom to share joy. Or, perhaps we may hear God asking us to address an injustice so that the peace of God’s reign here on earth may be furthered.