December 21

Luke 1:39-45

Mary Visits Elizabeth


Mary is not only the first of all believers in the NT but also the first missionary to bring the good news of God’s love and saving power to her cousin Elizabeth and her whole family. When the angel also revealed to her that Elizabeth has conceived a son in her old age, she went with haste to be one with her cousin in this moment of joy and anxious infanticipation. And, as soon as the women met, they understood each other and their embrace manifested the joyful acceptance of their mission.

The visitation of Mary is God’s visitation to Elizabeth. Elizabeth is experiencing the anxiety of conceiving a son in her old age and the sadness of her husband’s loss of speech. But as soon as the older woman heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. Elizabeth filled with the Holy Spirit, was able to recognize the loving presence of God in Mary and so she was consoled, strengthened and uttered a cry of blessing.

Are we able to recognize the gentle and comforting presence of God in the midst of our busy schedule? Do we go out of our way, like Mary, to share God’s love for others? When was the last we uttered to cry of blessing and thanksgiving to Him who has gifted us with his own beloved Son? (SVD friend Bible Diary 2002)


Mary’s encounter with her cousin Elizabeth is one of the gospel episodes of great profundity. John in his mother’s womb felt the presence of Jesus. Elizabeth discovered Mary’s fullness of grace, and proclaimed her blessed.

This was made possible because Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and it was the Spirit who inspired her to understand such things.

Oftentimes we forget the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He is the one who opens our hearts to the acknowledgement of Jesus already present in our midst. (Fr. Eliseo Yyance, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


Mary’s visitation to her cousin Elizabeth exemplifies the life of a Christian – that of spreading the joy and gratitude of being “visited” by God, of having the privilege of carrying Christ in one’s life. This privilege eggs us on to let others share the presence of Christ which in turn prompts them to spread the experience, like chain letters. If chain letters were personified in good words and works for others then the contagion will be unstoppable.

If we believe that Christ is within us, but it does not show, then we become a non-performing asset or a “missing link” in a possible chain reaction of endless possibilities for the reign of God to be established. The honor given to Mary did not become an obstruction but rather a conduit for the transmission of God’s wonderful deeds. She became humbler and more sensitive to other’s needs.

We are approaching the birthday of Christ. This is a good time once again to reflect how much have we allowed ourselves to serve as links between Christ and others? We are all assets in spreading the presence of Christ by what we do for others. Are we frozen or performing assets. (Fr. Gerry del Pinado, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


This gospel episode brings me back to the day when Benedict XVI was elected Pope. From the conclave up to the inauguration of the new pope, the whole world, thanks to media, experienced a kind of divine visitation, one that Mary and Elizabeth also experienced. Both were moments of God visiting us his people, assuring us of his presence and faithfulness.

Elizabeth’s gratitude was also echoed by the Pope’s own words, ‘I am consoled by the fact that the Lord can work and act even through insufficient instruments…” As John leapt for joy in Elizabeth’s womb, pilgrims and viewers around the world who watched and prayed jumped in joy at the worlds, “Habemus Papam” (We have a Pope). Mary who carried and brought Jesus to the world figured prominently in the first papal public address, ‘In the joy of the risen Lord, and trusting in his permanent help, we go forward. The Lord will help us and Mary His most holy Mother is on our side.”

The joy doesn’t stop there. Daily we author visitation stories in our own encounters made possible by Christ, the Emmanuel! We just have to be sensitive to His presence within our midst. The words of Pope Benedict XVI assure us, “Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away and He gives you everything.” (Fr. Raymond Soriano, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


YOU ARE THERE! It is not good to classify people. On the other hand, classifying people can help us understand people’s attitude. There are different ways of classifying people, understanding human behavior. One style is to classify them according to how they enter a room. One type of people, when they enter a room, they say, “I AM HERE!” this is the type of persons who cannot tolerate being unnoticed. These people are those who enjoy being the focal point of attention, who enjoy being the life of the party.

The second type of person who enters the room is the one who enters the room full of people and enters as if nobody is there. He will not greet anybody. He will just take a seat and do what he is supposed to do, mindless of the presence of others. in Tagalog, ni ha, ni ho, no good morning/afternoon, nothing. He just enters the room and does what he wants to do and forgets about everything, everybody in the room.

The third type of person who enters the room is this person who says, “Ah, you are there.” This one enters the room and says, “Ah, you are there and I am happy to see you in the room. I am happy to greet you in the room. I am happy that you are ahead of me.”

There are different types or styles of entering room. One is to call attention to yourself. Another one is to ignore everybody. The third one is the type that gives importance to everybody who is in the room and says, “Ah, you are here.” The “ah, you are here” people are like Mary. Mary was carrying God in her womb. If you noticed, as soon as Mary and Elizabeth met each other, who greeted first? Mary. In spite of her stature, in spite of her dignity that she is now the Mother of God, that the angel had appeared to her, it was Mary who greeted first and Elizabeth said: “The moment your greeting sounded in my ear, my baby jumped for joy.” Such humility, such simplicity, such care for others. that is Mary.

It will be Christmas in a few days and I whisper to God a prayer that we may find in our hearts to always look for God in everybody. Entering a room, entering a Church, we will not ignore God present there. Entering a room, entering a church, may we recognize God present in everybody. May we be the third type of person, the “ah, you are here.” So let us greet one another as if the Lord has visited us, like Elizabeth. (Bishop Soc Villegas Love Like Jesus pp. 102-103)


Up in the hill country of Judah, right across the house where as tradition says Zechariah and Elizabeth lived, rises a church which the Franciscans built and aptly called “The Church of the Visitation.”

In the recent past, specifically right after the Six-Day War pitting Israel against its Arab neighbors, pilgrims – Jews, Christians and Moslems, travelled all the way from Jerusalem to the Church of the Visitation search of solace, peace and a place for prayer.

One of these pilgrims was a Jewish rabbi who, upon meeting with a Catholic priest, told him, “You know, we Jews and Christians are both peoples of hope. But,” he added, “while we Jews look forward to the coming of our Messiah with great joy and much enthusiasm, you Christians are either apathetic or afraid. We as a people, possess the right of hope.”

When Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, a woman laboring physically from the rigors of having child in her old age while enduring the gossip of evil-minded neighbors, our Blessed Mother’s very timely visit provided support, strength, and much-needed consolation to her beleaguered cousin. Mary gave her cousin a reason to hope. The latter, filled with gratitude and inspired by the Holy Spirit, joyfully exclaimed, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”

With genuine joy and a rightful pride, rightful because it was a pride based on the goodness of the Lord, Mary replied with the majestic hymn: The Magnificat, in which she truly magnifies the goodness of the Lord.

People see in the Jews a proud nation, but theirs is a pride anchored, not on themselves or on their own achievements, but on the love and mercy God has for them.

Our people, beset by the evils of the leaders, some uncaring while others grossly corrupt, still maintain their hope that one day our Lord and His Blessed Mother will free them from the tribulations of these trying times. (Fr. Flor Lagura, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


December 21, 2012

St. Peter Canisius
Late Advent Weekdays:
Dec. 21

Sg 2:8-14
[or Zep 3:14-18a]
Ps 33
Lk 1:39-45

Lk 1:39-45
Mary Visits Elizabeth

39Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, 40where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, 42cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. 45Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”


The mother of my Lord. The Gospel is a lesson in sharing. Knowing she will be the mother of the Savior, the first thing Mary does is to visit her cousin Elizabeth. She certainly wishes to be of service and to provide companionship for Elizabeth who is also expecting her first child in her old age. But more than helping, Mary is sharing Jesus with her cousin.

Elizabeth must be anxious and fearful about the difficulties of childbearing in old age. Mary’s presence gives comfort, consolation, and assurance. More, Mary has brought Jesus to her. Who could calm her fears and anxieties better than Jesus?

Indeed, what better gift can we give than share Jesus with others? People need our sympathy, our understanding, our listening ear, our presence, our trust. It is admirable if we can give these. Yet, far better it is to share Jesus with people in need.

God is always near us, abot-kamay, within reach. God continually comes and visits. We meet him both in one who does good to us and in another who needs our assistance. He comes to help us especially when our cross seems too heavy, when we are in trouble, when we are down.

Do we let him in? Do we make him feel he is welcome and needed?

Do I go out of my way to listen to others, offer my companionship, and show compassion?


6th Day, 21st December Year A: Mary the Abode for the Lord

Readings: 1st: 2 Samuel 7: 1-5. 8b-11.16. 2nd: Romans 16: 25-27. 3rd: Luke 1: 39-45

The short reflection on the 6th day of Misa de Gallo is taken from the Gospel reading: “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1: 43).

Mary has shown the whole humanity the attitude and service and solidarity with people in need. She is the model par excellence of discipleship – a hearer and doer of God’s Word! Being God’s chosen one is NOT an entitlement, but a call to become a WITNESS of God. In Mary’s case, being the Mother of God means a call to give life, to care, to nurture, and to accompany not only to Jesus, her Son, but to all who believe in Him.

Mary’s visitation of her cousin, Elizabeth, was precisely to help and accompany her who was “well stricken in years”. Mary would stay there for six months to accompany her go through the experience of childbirth.

It is my belief that there is only one way to eliminate the evils that surround us, that is, to school ourselves, once more, and to prefer a life that is geared towards the service of our neighbors and the care for our gasping environment OVER the glorification of power, money and individual’s outer success.

Mary, at the scene of the Visitation, shows us the way… Bapa Jun Mercado, OMI


Monday, December 20, 2010

Mary and Elizabeth – Showing us the Way!

Homily – Tuesday, December 21, 2010

There are two very different but profound messages given to us today in the gospel and through the examples of two remarkable women;

Mary and Elizabeth.

Let’s begin with Mary – As we all know, she was carrying Jesus within her womb and what does she do Does she withdrawal from the community and hide away with this treasure? No – she ventures out into the world with a plan to give service to Elizabeth. Carrying the person of Christ, His love, His grace, and His power, she sets off out into the world, allowing Christ to be present to others.

I can’t help but wonder if we are applying Mary’s example to our lives as well. Each week… and for some of us – each day, we receive Christ through the Holy Eucharist; Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. He becomes as real within us as he was within Mary, and what do we do after Mass? Do we go home and hid him from the world? Or, do we, like Mary, go to great effort to share him, and show him to others?

I was once asked by a group of Protestants what the main difference was between our faiths. My mind immediately filled with explanations of the Sacraments, Mary, the Mass, but then it hit me. I explained to this inquiring group, that we did share many similarities, yet there were some significant differences.  One of those unique and significant differences is our belief of relationship. As Catholics, our primary focus on spirituality is not just a “Me and God” relationship  where it is entirely about a personal relationship with God. But rather, a common relationship, shared by a larger group of people, called to serve each other, to love each other, to care for and live for each other. You can see how there is a significant difference; one understanding is quite self-centered in the “God and me” relationship. And the other, is just the opposite, it is self-less and truly sacrificial. The group of Protestants had many more questions, but I could tell that this explanation was effective in opening their eyes and broadening their understanding of the depth of our catholic faith.

The other example from today’s gospel is that from Elizabeth, who immediately identifies and is aware of the presence of God in her midst. How many of us are able to recognize when God’s spirit is upon us? How many of us can see and are aware when God places someone filled with grace into our midst? What power or ability did Elizabeth possess to so clearly see Christ, even Christ hidden within the womb? She had the same ability that we have;  it is the Holy Spirit,  but she was not hindered by distractions, nor obstacles that can distort so very well. One might even say that she had prepared herself well through living a good life, a holy life, a life that enabled her to truly see the world and its effects so clearly.

This preparation was not unique to Elizabeth, it is the same preparation that we are all called to partake in. It has a lot to do with patience, faith, and participating with God when he acts in our lives. Elizabeth shows us that even after being barren for so many years, desiring a child, she doesn’t give up hope, she perseveres, Living an honorable life, caring for her husband and those around her. And when God chose to finally act, giving her a child, even in her old age, she accepts, trusts the Lord, and nourishes the gift placed into her womb. Did she boast of the miracle?

No, rather instead, she remains humble and thankful; in fact what is her initial response when Mary arrives….. Elizabeth doesn’t focus on herself, but rather states: “How does this happen to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” She possessed true humility.

When we place our focus and attention on others, and not on ourselves, our ability to see God’s presence in and amongst our lives becomes so clear.

When we live simple and pure lives, allowing time for contemplation, for prayer, and for serving others, this allows Gods’ spirit to manifest itself completely and radiates free from selfish person desires and self- absorbency.

It is difficult to see Christ in others when we are constantly only looking at ourselves.

Mary and Elizabeth have shown us through their life example, a way of embracing our Lord, a method for seeing him in and amongst our lives.

It is through accepting Christ, sharing him unselfishly with others, living simple and humble lives, lives of charity and service that enables His spirit to shine.

It is by following the examples of these 2 holy women that Christ is made visible and present in the world.

Now it is up to us to participate in God’s holy work,

as we partake in the Eucharist,

listen to his voice,

ask him to guide you,

Strengthen you,

and motivate you,

and then…. share him with the world!


ANG PLANO NG DIYOS: Reflection for 4th Sunday of Advent and 6th Day of Christmas Novena – December 21, 2014 – YEAR OF THE POOR Year B

Ano ba ang plano mo ngayong Pasko?  May plano ka bang takasan o hindi magpakita sa mga inaanak mo?  May paalala sa iyo si Donya Ina: “Malapit na ang Pasko hindi ka pa rin nagpapparamdam si Ninang at Ninong, Pag may okasyon laging present!  Pag Pasko… di na makita?  Anong style yan?  Magregaloo din kayo pag may time mga Ninang at Ninong ah?  Lab U!”  Ngunit may ilan-ilan din namang hindi nagtatago pero may kundisyong inilalatag para sa kanilang mga inaanak.  Sabi ng isang nabasa ko:  “To all my inaanak, Eto ang mga requirements in claiming your gifts: 1.  Original Copy of Birth Certificate 2. Original Copy of Baptismal Certificate 3. Picture or Video during the Baptismal Ceremony 3. Should know my complete name.  Note:  Deadline of claiming your gift is until December 31, 2014 only! Inaanaks with no requirements will not be entertained! Incomplete requirements, no gift! Merry Christmas!: hehehe..,  astig si Ninong!  Ang Diyos din sa simula pa ng magkasala ang ating mga unang magulang ay may plano na para sa atin. Isinugo Niya ang kanyang bugtong na Anak at dahil dito ang “Salita” na Diyos ay nagkatawang-tao.  Siya ay tinawag na “Emmanuel” o ang Diyos na sumasaatin.  Upang maisakatuparan ang planong ito ay pinili Niya ang isang karaniwang babae na taga-Nazareth na ang pangalan ay MARIA. Ngunit ang babaeng ito ay mayroon na ring plano para sa kanyang sarili.  Sa katunayan siya ay naitalaga na kay Jose upang kanyang maging asawa.  Subalit binago ng Diyos ang plano ni Maria.  Hindi naging madali para kay Maria na tanggapin ang bagong planong ito.  Hindi niya lubos na maunawaan ang ibig sabihin nito ngunit sa kahulu-hulihan ay isinuko n’ya rin ang kanyang plano sa Diyos: “Ako’y alipin ng Panginoon, mangyari sa akin ayon sa iyong sinabi.”  Marahil tayong lahat din ay sari-sariling plano sa ating buhay.  Kalimitan ay nalilito pa nga tayo kung ano ang nais nating mangyari sa ating buhay. Kalimitan din ay palpak ang planong ating sinusunod.  Yun ay sapagkat mali ang ating tanong.  Hindi kung ano ang plano natin bagkus kung ANO BA ANG PLANO NG DIYOS PARA SA ATIN?  Minsa ay nagkakabangga ang plano natin at ang plano ng Diyos para sa atin.  Kung hindi magkatulad ang nais nating mangyari.  Sa ganitong pagkakataon ay kakikitaan natin ng pagiging modelo ang Mahal na Birhen.  Siya na inuna muna ang kalooban ng Diyos para sa kanya at simang-ayon sa plano nitong maging ina ng anak ng Kataas-taasan!  Nawa ay lagi rin nating unahin ang kalooban ng Diyos.  Sa katunayan ay lagi nating binabanggit ito sa ating panalangin:  “Sundin ang loob mo, dito sa lupa para ng sa langit!”  Hindi madali ang sundin ang plano ng Diyos.  Nangangahuugan ito ng paglimot sa ating sariling mga plano.  Kung minsan ay magdudulot pa ito ng paghiirap at sakrispisyo ngunit kung magagawa naman natin ito ay mararanasan natin ang kakaibang ligaya sa ating buhay.  Gayahin natin si Maria at maging bukas din tayo sa pagsunod sa plano ng Diyos.  Sa kabila ng ating pag-aalinlangan maging tapat lagi tayo sa Kanyang Salita at isabuhay ito araw-araw.Ipinaskil ni kalakbay ng kabataan


See Today’s Readings: Year I,   Year II

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