“The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst.”
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Zephaniah (Zephaniah 3: 14- 18a)
Sing aloud, O daughter of Sion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away the judgements against you, he has cast out your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear evil no more. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Do not fear, O Sion; let not your hands grow weak. The Lord your God is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival.
The word of the Lord.
Or the following:
“Contribute to the needs of the, saints, practice hospitality.”
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans (Romans 12:9-16b)
Brethren: Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Never flag in zeal, be a glow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Isaiah 12:2-3.4 bcde.5-6 (R. 6b)
R/. Great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
“Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. R/.
“Give thanks to the Lord,
call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the nations,
proclaim that his name is exalted.” R/.
“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
let this be known in all the earth.
Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitants of Sion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” R/.
ALLELUIA Luke 1:45
Alleluia. Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to you from the Lord. Alleluia.
“Why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 1:39—56)
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the child leaped 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? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.” And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Today we celebrate the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth. This visitation is a solemn expression of the selflessness of Mary. The greeting of Mary makes the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leap for joy. Elizabeth’s divinely inspired greeting to Mary, ‘Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb’ has become part of the ‘Hail Mary’. Mary expresses her gratitude and humility in the ‘Magnificat’. As Christians, it is our duty to honour the Mother of God and indeed, all generations are to call her blessed. We pray that our mother may lead us to a John the Baptist like Jesus experience.