On the Sunday of the Visitation we hear what is perhaps the most joyful Gospel of the year. Two simple women, together with the children in their wombs’, join together to rejoice about what they know is the greatest news of all.
St Ephrem writes:
The Word of the Father came from
and put on a body in another womb;
the Word proceeded from one womb to another-
and chaste wombs are now filled with the Word;
blessed is He who has resided in us.
St Ephrem reminds us that these two women meeting and encountering Christ is more than just a story or a history event in the past. We all have the opportunity to receive Christ. Every time we receive the Eucharist, like Mary, we receive Christ into our womb to reside in us.
Mary recognises when she sings the “magnificat” that Christ has come for the lowly and the hungry. Christ is for everyone and he is here in the present. What a wonderful gift of joy that is.
So this Sunday and every Sunday, you have the opportunity to have Christ visit you, and like Mary and Elizabeth, you can rejoice with others and receive the living Christ into your womb.
NT Wright, an Anglican Bishop reflects on the Visitation:
God’s purposes and plans are first revealed in a private meeting between two women on the edge of society.
This is explained in the Maronite Liturgy when we hear the celebrant chant in the Psalm:
Our Lord dwells in the Virgin,
though enthroned on cherubim.
When he visits his servants,
John is baptized in the womb.
John is baptised? In the Gospel (Luke 1:39-45) we hear;
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
The purpose and plan that NT Wright speaks about is the revelation of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is perfectly depicted in the icon at the Church of the Visitation at EinKarem in Israel.
In the moment when these two women meet, the Father, incarnate as the Son in Mary’s womb and the Holy Spiritdescending to baptise John, are all present. God’s plan is publicly revealed to these two women and to us on this wonderful Sunday.