The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – May 31st

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The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – May 31st


Readings: Sop 3:14-18a (Rom 12:9-16); Lk 1:39-56.

1/ First Reading: RSV Zephaniah 3:14 Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! 15 The Lord has taken away the judgments against you, he has cast out your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear evil no more. 16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Do not fear, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. 17 The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing 18 as on a day of festival. “I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it.

2/ Gospel: RSV Luke 1:39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” 46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; 49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, 52 he has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of low degree; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.” 56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.

I. THEME: God has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree.

            There is always a contrast between God and human beings. God loves the lowly and the humble; people desire power and fame; God loves those who serve, people love to be served. God loves those who suffer, people avoid all sufferings, etc. For examples, God chose John Vianey, a dull and and simple person to be the patron of all pastors. He chose Mother Theresa to serve the poor and to bring many of them to the Church. He chose Martin de Porres, a simple nurse to heal the sick and to do many miracles for the poor.  

            Today readings want to highlight God’s wonderful works, achieved in the poor and the obedient. In the first reading, the prophet Zephaniah announced God shall bring all the remnant of Israelites and Judahites from the exile to be back to their countries and to rebuild the temple at the time when there is no hope. In the Gospel, Elisabeth recognized right away the reason why Mary is chosen to be the Mother of God, because Mary believes what God says to her shall be achieved. Mary also recognized God’s power at work in her, a poor maidservant.


1/ Reading I: “The Lord has taken away the judgments against you, he has cast out your enemies.”

1.1/ People’s disobedience of God’s commands is the main reason of the two exiles: Two reasons that light up God’s anger and He let the Israel and Judah’ enemies from the north evade, destroy and bring them to exiles are:

            (1) They forsook God and chased after foreign gods: When people become rich, they have a tendency to live far away from God; this tendency is true everywhere and for all generations. A reviewing of the Prophetic Books shows us that God continually sent His prophets to call people to repent, but they didn’t listen to the prophets; they also seized, persecuted and put them into prison.

            (2) They maltreated the poor: The main reason why people become rich isn’t because they worked hard, but maltreated the poor. Those have power use their authority to seize the poor’s properties or to pay them the wage that isn’t enough for them to live. When the poor cry out to God, He shall listen to them.

1.2/ People should trust in God’s love: When God punishes people, it isn’t meant that He hates them, but for them to recognize their sins and to repent. When people must suffer in the exiles, God continually sends His prophets to console and to provide hope for people. This is the prophets’ message for people: “If they repent, God shall save them.”

            The prophet Zephaniah is one of the prophets who lives with people in exile. His message for people is written in today passage: “Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away the judgments against you. He has cast out your enemies.”

            Many people are discouraged and don’t believe because they think if they couldn’t keep their countries in the past with many soldiers and weapons; now they live in exile, how can they find soldiers and weapons to fight against their enemies? Those who think like that don’t understand God’s power and providence. The history of Israel shows that God can bring people back without military force. God changed Cyrus’s heart, the Persian king, so he recognized what God has done for him. To return favor, not only he issued a decree for the Israelites to go back to their country, but he also provided financial mean for them to rebuild the temple and to re-establish their country. Nothing is impossible to God.

2/ Gospel: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

2.1/ Elisabeth recognized Mary’s title “Mother of God”: There are two strange things happened to Elisabeth in this visitation.

            (1) The first strange thing: Though Mary
didn’t tell anything to Elisabeth about what God shall achieve in her; but Elisabeth knew all by Mary’s presence. She knew because the Holy Spirit’s presence in both her and her child as Luke reports: “When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is the God of truth, therefore, it isn’t strange when Elisabeth exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”

            (2) The second strange thing: Elisabeth clearly knew that Mary is chosen to be Jesus’ mother because she believes that “God’s word to her shall be achieved.”

2.2/ Mary recognizes God’s desires and His power to do them.

            Many scholars think the hymn “Magnificat” isn’t composed by Luke, the evangelist, nor by Mary; but it is the traditional hymn which Luke imported here to describe Mary’s gratitude for God. This is easy to understand because the faithful used to memorize by heart many familiar songs to praise God when the opportunity comes. However, we shouldn’t undervalue the Holy Spirit’s inspiration in Mary; he could help her to compose the hymn.

            There are two things we can learn from this hymn: 

            (1) God loves the humble and hates the prideful: First of all, the Blessed Mary recognized what God wants to achieve in her is completely His intention and power; she is only his maidservant and unworthy of His favor. Mary praises God’s love and wishes that all might know what God has done for her.

            Why does God hate the prideful? First, they steals God’s favors for them. If they carefully think, they shall know that everything they have are from God, nothing from them; for examples: power, fame, talent, time, material things, etc. Secondly, the prideful think they don’t need God. If they think they can achieve things by their own, they shall not come to God. Lastly, the prideful despise others because they think they are better than others.

            (2) God helps the poor: “He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away.” This is also the first beatitude of Jesus’ sermon on the mount. The rich is very hard to enter the kingdom of God because richness pushes people far away from God, as in the case of the rich young man. Poor isn’t understood only about material things; but also about all aspects of our life. People must be aware that they need God in all things. They can’t live without God’s blessings, such as: existence, love, truth, faith and hope.           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            – We should believe and keep what God commands us to do if we want to be blessed and protected by God. Disobedience to Him is the reason of our sufferings.

            – To do God’s will is the condition for His blessings. We shouldn’t be prideful to steal all favors which He constantly bestows on our life.

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