Today we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation when the Blessed Virgin Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth immediately after the events of the Annunciation when the Angel Gabriel proclaimed the conception of the Christ Child by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Lucan narrative in Chapter 1 is about as rich a text as one could ask for. It is rich in OT echoes with strains of 1 Samuel woven into the thread of the story. It foreshadows Luke’s emphasis of the Holy Spirit so profoundly described in his second book, Acts of the Apostles.
In the season of Advent and Christmas, we will hear a lot about Mary, the mother of Jesus. We’ll hear about her obedience, her purity, her faith, her consent. We’ll see her in outdoor Nativity displays, draped in blue, with downcast eyes and a beatific smile. We’ll enjoy watching our children dramatize her story in “virtual pageants” on Christmas Eve. We’ll honor her legacy with some of the most beloved prayers, liturgies, and carols we know. All of it true and right. But this morning let us consider Mary, the prophet. Mary, the voice of the downtrodden. Mary, the singer of the Magnificat, God’s gorgeous justice song.
We live in a world of email, text messaging, tweets, instagrams, and all manner of connectivity in social and electronic media. It has become all very ordinary. Yet, each day, I am more than a little curious about what comes “old school” via USPS into my mailbox. There is correspondence from the Diocese, advertisements for one thing or another guaranteed to improve and renew the parish, bills and invoices, catalogs, and “ta-da!”… Christmas cards. Continue reading