The good news of the Messiah is delivered to Elizabeth and her unborn son, John the Baptist.
Today is the twentieth day in our set of meditations inspired by Jesse Tree Advent Tradition. (To see previous days, click here.)
The concept comes from a passage in Isaiah, where the prophet says, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots” (11:1). Jesse is the father of King David, and Jesus was born into that same line of David through his foster-father’s (Joseph’s) ancestry.
Each day of December we will offer a brief Scripture passage and reflection, following God’s marvelous plan of salvation in the Jesse Tree tradition.
During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”(Luke 1:39-45)
In today’s Gospel passage we listened to the account of the Mother of God’s visit to her elderly relative, Elizabeth. The first meeting between John the Baptist and Jesus takes place through their mothers’ greeting. St Luke tells us that Mary “went with haste” (cf. Lk 1:39) to Elizabeth. This anxiety to visit her cousin indicates her wish to be of assistance to her during her pregnancy, but above all her desire to rejoice with her that the time of salvation had arrived. In the presence of Mary and the incarnate Word, John leapt for joy and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit (cf. Lk 1:41).
We find reflected in Mary’s visitation the hopes and expectations of the humble, God-fearing people who were awaiting the fulfillment of the prophetic promises. The first reading from the Book of the Prophet Micah announces the coming of a new king, after God’s heart. A king who will not try to display greatness and power, but who will rise from humble origins like David and, like him, will be wise and faithful to the Lord. “But you, Bethlehem … who are little … from you shall come forth … one who is to be ruler” (5:2). This promised king will care for his people with the strength of God himself and will bring peace and security to the ends of the earth (cf. Mi 5:4). All these ancient promises will be fulfilled in the Child of Bethlehem.(St. John Paul II, Homily, December 21 1997)
O God, eternal majesty, whose ineffable Word
the immaculate Virgin received through the message of an Angel
and so became the dwelling-place of divinity,
filled with the light of the Holy Spirit,
grant, we pray, that by her example
we may in humility hold fast to your will.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever
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