Everything in the visitation scene is motion and excitement: Mary's haste, her greeting to Elizabeth, John's leaping for joy, Elizabeth's exclaiming with loud cry and Mary's thanksgiving. All of these actions and reactions are so many showings of the Spirit's manifestation at the dawn of the Messianic age.
The visitation is not only a scene of transition; it also marks a major advance in revealing the messiah, who receives for the first time in the Gospel of Luke, the title Lord.
The account of the Visitation serves in the first place to demonstrate the effectiveness of God's word. The announcement to Mary has to do with approaching motherhood. She goes in all haste to rejoice over it with Elizabeth, and Elizabeth receives her as "the mother of my Lord." The Word of God is herein fulfilled.
In the Old Testament there is the prophetic consecration of Jeremiah while still in his mother's womb. Here, in a similar consecration, the mere presence of the Messiah is enough to evoke from John, at the moment of Mary's greeting, a reaction of joy. It expresses the introduction of God's eschatological salvation and simultaneously the exceptional bond between Jesus and John.
A New Revelation concerning Jesus
The visitation account centers essentially on the mystery of Jesus. Elizabeth uses the title Lord, which will be the title par excellence of the risen Son of God. Elizabeth's words on behalf of Jesus project the holiness of the child coined by Mary and echo the predictions of Gabriel: "He will be great and will be called son of God."
The Holiness of the Mother
The scene of the visitation is extended in Mary's personal act of thanksgiving, the Magnificat. She gives praise for the intervention of God, her Savior, in her stupendous motherhood. But Mary's Magnificat does not stop at herself. It moves over the whole history of Israel, the long line of men and women who have experienced and extolled the salvation of God.
Mary, Ark of the Covenant
The Angel's words to Mary suggest a parallel between Mary and the Ark of the Covenant. Mary was filled with the Divine presence as the ark was with the glory of Yahweh. And Mary's coming to Elizabeth is a source of blessing, just as was the coming of the ark for the house of Obededom (2 Sam 6:11).
What the Ark of the Covenant could only signify (and only in a local way), Mary makes a reality, and in a personal way: She is an effective sign of God's presence with his people.
Mary's life is not the answer! Jesus is the answer! But Mary's life is an effective sign that Jesus is the answer. She helps us to understand the following prayer to Jesus:
Author: Father Johann G. Roten, S.M
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