Thursday, 12 August 2021 15:53

Breathing God into every moment

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ABVMWeb400Mary 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 the 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 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 for 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 descendants for ever.’

Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home. (Lk 1:39-56)

 

In difficult situations we look for hope. Who or what will deliver us? Where is the light at the end of the tunnel? In the pandemic we have looked to health authorities and governments, to lockdowns, mask-wearing and social distancing. More recently, we have looked to vaccines.

The Assumption is a great feast of hope! In the scripture and related writings for this feast, we learn that God’s plan is that we, like Mary, are destined to share the same glory of heaven, through Christ’s resurrection.
 
The second reading of today’s feast says: Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep…Just as all people die in Adam, so all people will be brought to life in Christ… All made possible by God’s great love for us.
 
The Gospel is the story of the joy-filled meeting between the pregnant cousins, Mary and Elizabeth. Filled with the Holy Spirit Elizabeth recognises Mary as ‘the mother of my Lord’ and the child in Elizabeth’s womb, John the Baptist, dances for joy. Elizabeth feels honoured by this visit ‘from the mother of my Lord’ and proclaims Mary blessed because she believed that the promise made to her by the Lord in the Annunciation story would be fulfilled.
 
Mary’s response to Elizabeth is an outpouring of joy and belief, shared with Elizabeth, but also with us, even in the 21st century. Mary rejoices that this ‘great thing’ that has happened to her, an ordinary, humble person, is a gift from God.
 
Responding to the reign of God’s grace in her, Mary proclaims God as the Holy One embracing her part within of God’s outreach to the human family. She rejoices in God’s power which brings justice to the poor and mercy for the faithful.
 
The Carmelite martyr, Blessed Titus Brandsma (1881–1942), says that we too can be like Mary:

The Lord also sends his angel to us ... we too must accept God in our hearts and carry him in our hearts, nourish him and make him grow in us so that he is born of us and lives with us as the God-with-us, Emmanuel.
 
May we breathe the Word of God into every moment of life.

Download Celebrating At Home for this Sunday:

Celebrating At Home Assumption of BVM [PDF]
Celebrating At Home Assumption of BVM [ePub]

 

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