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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

May 31st: Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

1st Reading (Zeph 3:14-18): Shout for joy, o daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, o Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, o daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has removed the judgment against you, he has turned away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst, you have no further misfortune to fear. On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem: Fear not, o Zion, be not discouraged! The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, He will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals.

Or:

(Rom 12:9-16): Brothers and sisters: Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation.
Responsorial Psalm: Is 12
R/. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior. With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation.

Give thanks to the Lord, acclaim his name; among the nations make known his deeds, proclaim how exalted is his name.

Sing praise to the Lord for his glorious achievement; let this be known throughout all the earth. Shout with exultation, o city of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel!
Versicle before the Gospel (Lk 1:45): Alleluia. Blessed are you, o Virgin Mary, who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 1,39-56): 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.”

And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.” Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

«The infant in my womb leaped for joy»

+ Mons. F. Xavier CIURANETA i Aymí Emeritus Bishop of Lleida (Lleida, Spain)

Today, we contemplate the Virgin Mary's Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth. As soon as she was told she had been chosen by God Father to be the Mother of the Son of God and that her cousin Elizabeth had also received the gift of motherhood, she decidedly set out for the hills to congratulate her cousin, to share with her the joy of having being blessed with the gift of maternity and to serve her.

The salutation of the Mother of God prompts that the infant Elizabeth carried in her womb, leapt with joy. God's Mother, who also carried Jesus in her womb, is a cause for joy. Families are happy when the arrival of a new life is announced. Christ birth certainly produces «good news of great joy» (Lk 2:10).

And yet, now a day, motherhood is not duly prized. Quite often other interests, which are an expression of convenience and selfishness, oppose to it. Parent's love implies an eventual renunciation scaring many married couples that, perhaps, should be more generous with the goods they have received from God and say “yes” to new lives in a more responsible way. Many families stop being “shrines of life”. Pope Saint John Paul II confirmed that birth control and abortion «have their roots in an hedonist and irresponsible mentality with respect to sexuality and presuppose a selfish concept of liberty, that sees in procreation an obstacle to the development of their own personality».

During five months Elizabeth did not leave her home, and thought: «So has the Lord done for me» (Lk 1:25). And Mary said: «My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord (...)for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant» (Lk 1:46-48). The Virgin Mary and Elizabeth value and are grateful for what God has given them: maternity! It is necessary that we, Catholics, find again the significance of life as a sacred gift from God to human beings.