The Visitation of Marry


Zephenias 3: 14-18
Romans 12: 9-16
Luke 1: 39-56


TODAY we see Mary, newly pregnant, hiking off “to the hill country” to meet her unexpectedly pregnant cousin Elizabeth in “a town of Judah” called Ein Karim.

 Now, nestled in the mountains 20 minutes west of Jerusalem, visitors bathe in the ancient Mary’s Spring, which they carry away in bottles.

 In the courtyard of The Church of the Visitation, erected over the site of Zechariah’s country home, stands a statue of two quite pregnant women. It is the first meeting of Jesus and John—a moment dubbed “womb-mates”—conspirators of the Kingdom of God who were both finally executed by the political powers of the day.

 The peace that once surrounded this beautiful town is often shattered by bombs and missiles screaming overhead in both directions, so far leaving Ein Karem untouched. The cries of the children echo in these hills.

 Today’s first reading strikes a disturbing note in present circumstances, when we hear Zephaniah magnifying the assured victory of the People of Israel and the complete destruction of their enemies.

 With the Magnificat of Mary of Mary ringing in our ears this day, proclaiming the “greatness of the Lord…who has looked with favour on His lowly servant…And who has mercy on those who fear him.  Holy is His name,” how do we magnify the greatness of the Lord these days? There are enemies in our time just as in the time of Zephenias, in the time of Mary and of Paul.  Is military or political victory the answer?

 Here St. Paul comes to our rescue with a series of actions for a Christian community that magnifies the Lord:

“Brother and Sisters, he begins, “let your love be sincere,

     Look on one another with mutual affection,
        Rejoice in hope,
                     Persevere in prayer,
                                      and associate with the lowly.”  

 Today, how might we conspire with Jesus and John and Paul to bring about the Kingdom of God in our communities and our world?

David Peter Folkes is a former Passionist Priest who resigned and married with 2 children and 2 grandchildren living in Chicago. He is mostly involved with refugee resettlement and racial equity issues.