Mary Visits Elizabeth
4th Sunday of Advent – Year C
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: December 23, 2018
What is something that we can do that will be good for others and also good for us? Something that can help our faith, help us deal with lack of joy or depression, something that can help when we are feeling empty or distant from God?
A visit. Go and visit someone!
Go to someone who is shut in, someone who is alone, someone in a nursing home, a friend you have not seen for a while. Phone someone whom you have not seen for a while, or someone you know is grieving the loss of a loved one. A visit can be so helpful, do not underestimate the value of a simple visit. It is the reason I have always appreciated this Gospel account of the Visitation, the great value of a visit.
You might say to me, “I don’t have time” “I am too busy” “I have enough of my own problems”
Mary. She has just found out she is pregnant. She has a completely uncertain future. Will Joseph dismiss her or stay with her? What will this mean for her life? There must have been some fear.
Yet, her next action is to go off to visit her cousin Elizabeth to assist her with her pregnancy. She forgets her own situation and goes off on a journey for this visit. There in that visit she hears those famous words which we repeat each time we say the Hail Mary. “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Elizabeth is helped by her visit and Mary grows in her faith and understanding. The value of a simple visit.
Of course, the most important visit ever, is when God our Creator came to visit us. As a baby, we say Emmanuel, God with us. In Jesus, God to visit us in a way we could see, hear, touch. God continues to visit us in Jesus today in the Sacraments. Also, in a way that we can see, hear and touch. In this Eucharist, we see, hear and touch Jesus who is really present. The Mass is a mutual visit, we come to visit Jesus, who comes to visit us. The great value of a visit.
Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth and both were inspired. God visited us in Jesus, continues to visit us today in the Sacraments.
The great value of a visit. A simple visit is good for the other and for us. A simple visit is something we can do that will help our faith, help us when lacking joy or feeling empty. A simple visit will bring hope to the other and if our heart is open, will allow God to speak to us as well.
So, my advice to anyone wanting to grow in faith, to deal with personal struggles: go and visit someone. It seems so simple. Yet, a visit is something deeply spiritual and very valuable.
As we leave Mass today, all of us our invited to reflect on who could use a visit from us. Perhaps a phone call, perhaps to drop in and see them. Like Mary, that person we visit might be an instrument through whom God can speak to and touch our heart.