“And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leapt in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:41-43)
Our first reading today is from the Song of Songs. It is a passage that talks about the beloved leaping upon the mountains like a gazelle, the beloved whose voice is sweet and appreciated. When we juxtapose this reading with our Gospel passage, we see Mary (the gazelle) going with haste to the hill country (leaping upon the mountains) to the house of Zechariah. We also see how the voice of Mary’s greeting made the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leap for joy, as the lover leaps for joy at the beloved’s voice.
Elizabeth, pregnant in her old age, is at home, hiding from people lest they begin to run their mouths. Mary, a young woman, comes to visit her. When Elizabeth hears Mary’s greeting, she opens her mouth and utters powerful words. Words that would define Christianity for ages to come. We get to hear about Mary’s pregnancy from Elizabeth’s mouth. “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42). Elizabeth introduces Mary to the world as the woman who is blessed among all women. Elizabeth and Angel Gabriel gave us the “Hail Mary” prayer.
Elizabeth added: “And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43). Let us pause to dwell on this verse. Mary had not yet given birth; Elizabeth was already honouring her as the “Mother of God.” It doesn’t end there; Elizabeth also said: “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:45). Apart from addressing Mary as the Mother of God, Elizabeth reveals the reason why Mary attained such a glorious height; Mary believed the words spoken to her by the Angel Gabriel.
How did Elizabeth manage to know and say these things? The answer lies in Luke 1:41, “Elizabeth was filled with the holy spirit.” When we have the Holy Spirit in us, our utterances no longer come from our heads but from God. Elizabeth was not a priest nor was she a scholar, but by the Holy Spirit, she became a Dogmatic Theologian; she defined the doctrine of Mary as the Mother of God, and she began active devotion to Mary. This is why we must constantly pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, may the Holy Spirit overshadow me now and always. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: Song of Songs 2:8-14, Ps. 33:2-3,11-12,20-21, Luke 1:39-45).
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu