Today the Church remembers an extraordinary encounter, the meeting of Christ’s Mother with her kinswoman, Elizabeth, but also, more importantly, the first encounter of their children- Christ the Lord and John the Baptist.
This encounter is called the Visitation.
If your understanding of the biblical witness in both the Old and New Testaments is sketchy it will be difficult to discern the importance and meaning of the Visitation. It is not merely a quaint domestic scene, a neighborly meeting of two women, but an apocalypse of a particular sort- a revelation.
You see, Christ’s Mother and Elizabeth share a secret, a secret that has quickened to life in the hearts and, literally, in their wombs.
The secret is the revelation that God is coming, and in the womb of the Virgin Mary- he is here!
Christ’s Mother announces the coming of God in Christ in her great statement of her faith called the Magnificat.
The Magnificat proclaims that God has come into this world to set it right. The world is dominated by men and women of power and privilege, men and women, for whom the attainment of wealth, pleasure, power and honors has become a religion- their ultimate concern. These men and women, secure in their pride, think only of themselves and mock God, depriving the lowly of their dignity and the poor of their daily bread.
Christ’s Mother testifies that the child growing in her womb will be a warrior king, foreseen by the prophets, greater than Moses and David. Her child will set the world right.
The words of Mary’s Magnificat are not sweet or sentimental, her tone is not that of a lullaby, but instead it is a battle cry.
The status quo of the world will be interrupted by her divine son and the world will be transformed. God will, in Christ, make all things new.
The new world will not merely be metaphysical or metaphorical, but will be a revelation that happens in flesh and in blood. The new world will be Christ, his impact, his effect and for those who believe in him, their lives will never be the same.
Christ the Lord does not come merely to affirm us as we are or to provide divine sanction for our causes and ideologies. He comes for transformation. He comes to change us.
Christ’s Mother and Elizabeth knew this. John the Baptist, even in his mother’s womb sensed the thrill of the promise of transformation in Christ.
Is this same thrill in us? Do we long to change, long for the transformation that Christ’s Mother proclaimed in her Magnificat? Is our testimony like that of Christ’s Mother- the proclamation that God comes into our world, into our lives in Jesus Christ, and he comes to make us, and all things new?
Or are we content with our narrow status quo, clinging to an old world and old self that offers us comfort and security, but cannot magnify the Lord’s power in our lives, and as such, cannot redeem and cannot save?