Gospel: Lk 1:39-56
Mary then set out for a town in the hill country of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and, giving a loud cry, said, “You are most blessed among women; and blessed is the fruit of your womb! How is it, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you, who believed that the Lord’s word would come true!”
And Mary said,
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God, my savior!
He has looked upon his servant, in her lowliness, and people, forever, will call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is his Name!
From age to age, his mercy extends to those who live in his presence.
He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.
He held out his hand to Israel, his servant, for he remembered his mercy, even as he promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.”
Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned home.
Because the Gospels do not contain an account of the Assumption of our Lady we have the texts about her visit to Elizabeth and her great hymn of thanksgiving, the Magnificat. It reminds us that all the honor we give to Mary redounds to God, who has done marvelous things for her.
This feast celebrates Mary’s going up to the heavens. The doctrine tells us that it was only fitting that the Mother of our Lord, “when the course of her earthly life was finished, [should be] taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven.” This teaching invites us to nurture in our hearts a deep hope of heaven. We must look at Mary, not as someone totally different from us and far above us, but as one of us who has succeeded and now shows us the way. This feast is not meant to frustrate us by making heaven feel remote, but to encourage us to see it as really possible, even probable (with God’s help). Sanctity or holiness is for everyone and heaven is meant to begin now. Mary did not become a saint on the day God took her to heaven. She became a saint when she said yes to God through an angel; when she visited the pregnant Elizabeth in her home; when she did the household chores and took care of her family’s needs; when she stood by her dying Son at the foot of the Cross. We can easily identify with Mary in these things. We hope and pray that we may grow in her likeness.