Commentary on the Gospel of

Larry Gillick, S.J. - Creighton University's Deglman Center for the Ignatian


Feast of the Visitation of The Blessed Virgin Mary


A gift is not really received until it is shared.  If it is good enough to be given and received, then it is more than good enough to be offered to others.  The more valued the gift is, the more it is not to be hidden. Gratitude is the foundation of generosity. These statements are the framework for today’s celebration of Mary’s heading for this family reunion.


Mary of Nazareth had been offered a hard-to-accept surprising gift which was not unbelievable, because she did believe. Why does she, according to Luke’s account, head for the hills of Judea so quickly?


She might go to assist her cousin Elizabeth living in such an isolated area. She might go for her own personal comfort of sharing the mysteries of pregnancy. She might go to have her faith in the promise made just a little bit firmer.   I muse about why I would make haste myself.


The “gooder” the news the more it urges publication and celebration because it is the “good” which just has an interior pressure to get out.


Ever been told a really good joke? What did you do with it? Mary has heard much more than a joke, rather something which will be of “great joy” to those who have ears to hear. As we hear in the First Reading from the Prophet Zephaniah, “the Lord is in your midst.” The real Visitation has taken place, not by Gabriel, but by Jesus within the womb of this receiver who knows deeply exactly what to do and where to go and why!


The goodness of love creates an urgency and Mary “hastens” to visit her cousin. The Goodness has also an urgency for union. There are two other instances of urgency in Luke’s Gospel. In the narrative of angels appearing to shepards in Luke 2-16, the shepards decide to go with “haste” to see what had been told them. In chapter 19-5, Jesus visits Zacchaeus up in his treehouse and Jesus says in words what Mary does in action. Jesus says, come down, I must stay at your house.” The little man comes down in “haste” and welcomes Jesus as did Mary.


Jesus has an urgency to take flesh in the Womb of Mary.  Jesus lives the urgency of love to stay in the house of each of us, making a visitation of timeless making God’s home in our flesh.


We who have been confined by the virus know the urgency to visit family, friends and all whom we love. We will go with “haste” and with great joy to bless with our love, as did Mary. That  longing to stay in our presence, is the same longing God is urging within our souls. We might ask the same question of God as Elizabeth asks upon Mary’s arrival. “How is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me” The answer is that Love just has to!


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