Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Church

Devotional Thoughts for the Sunday of visit of St. Mary to Elizabeth

by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

Gospel Reading: From the Gospel according to St. Luke 1: 39- 56

The Holy Church commemorates the visit of St. Mary to Elizabeth, mother of St. John the Baptist, the forerunner of our Lord. Today’s reading starts with the following words: “And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah. And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.”

St. Luke has avoided a long description of the journey or the difficulties undertook by St. Mary. Still we could realize the hardships that might have been undertaken by St. Mary, from his descriptions “the hill country with haste.” Nothing is mentioned about her determination, purpose or ambition of St. Mary as it is crystal clear in the following verses.

In verse 41 we read, “And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.” Here we find two noble ladies who carry infants in their wombs, one young woman carrying the Savior of entire mankind and the creations and the other old woman carrying the forerunner of the Savior. When St. Mary reached there and saluted Elizabeth, we find a total change in Elizabeth and her baby in her womb. In our daily lives, we also meet so many who carry Lord Jesus in their lives. According to the faith of our Church Fathers, we all carry the blood of our Savior as our Lord remains in each and every one of us, soon after we might partake the Holy Eucharist. When two of us meet each other, does there take place a change in our lives as that happened in the life of Elizabeth? Why nothing takes place in our midst, showing the symbol of the presence of Lord Jesus in us? This is a matter to be taken seriously for our serious search and study. This proves that there is something wrong in our lives and our understanding. We have to rectify the errors at the earliest. In our daily lives we interact with not only one person, but with so many frequently, especially with our kiths and kin. In this divine understanding, we must estimate the peace in Christian families, especially between the spouses or in between the parents and kids. We must think why we could not enjoy the excess gladness in meeting a Godly person due to the presence of Lord Jesus as well as the Holy Spirit in each other.

When Elizabeth realized the presence of Lord Jesus, whom she had never seen or had any sort of acquaintance, her body and mind underwent a thorough reformation. We often meet Lord Jesus Christ during the Holy Eucharist face to face and receive Him in our lives by partaking the Holy mysteries. Even after doing so, we remain as we are, without change. Why the total reformation is not taking place in us? Let us think slowly and steadily.

We often attend the divine services and partake from them without repentance, true and deep faith along with due preparation. Our Lord wants us to repent and believe the Gospel. He wanted these two things from us and He started teaching these two needs from us from the very beginning of His mission. Let us not forget that the repentance is the freedom from selfishness and our faith and belief must be pure and deep. More over the God’s free gift of the Holy Spirit in us is so weak every now and then. We are obliged to allow the Holy Spirit in us to grow to perfection. If so only, we could produce the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

We often feel happy with our namesake spirituality and we are not bothered to think about the needy transformation in us. Let us earnestly long to be a true Christian in our faith, deed and word. Elizabeth was filled (100 percent) with Holy Spirit because she had no selfish thoughts and desires. Let us long to fill our hearts and minds with full participation of the Holy Spirit, so that we could also perform the will of God.

In verse 42 to 46 we hear the song of Elizabeth. She sings innocently as she is filled with the Holy Spirit. Then and there she realizes all facts as they are. There is no problem for her to admit that St. Mary is mother of God. She says “And whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? It is true that Elizabeth is the first person to address St. Mary as mother of God. She proclaimed in loud voice what she felt and believed. Could we admit the truth, even if we believe or realize so? It is a great difficulty for us to admit the truth to others. Let us change such natures in us.

From verses 46 onwards we listen the song of praise from St. Mary. It is an open declaration of her faith, staunch belief in God Almighty and dedication. Let us try to imitate St. Mary in her faith, humility and willingness to suffer anything for the glory of God. We should not forget the fact that though St. Mary is often glorified as blessed by the faithful of generations after generations, there is no human being who has suffered tortures and agonies as St. Mary for the sake of the Lord and Savior.

May God bless us in the intercession of St. Mary Mother of God as well as St. Elizabeth, mother of St. John the Baptist.

See Also:

Elizabeth - a Spiritual Guardian and Protector of Mary
by Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil

The lad leaped for joy in the womb
by H G Yuhanon Meletius

Great people are born first in the heart, not in the womb
by Very Rev. Dr. Yohannan Sankarathil Cor-Episcopa

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