27 November 2016

posted 24 Nov 2016, 20:55 by C S Paul

27 November 2016

Scripture reading and Sermon

Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

St. Mary's visit to Elizabeth 

Readings from the Scripture



Before Holy Qurbana

Holy Qurbana

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 

40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 

41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 

42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 

43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 

44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 
45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

The Song of Mary

46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord,

47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.

48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.

49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name.

50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation.

51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly.

53 He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty.

54 He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy,

55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.

Elizabeth - a Spiritual Guardian and Protector of Mary

by Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil

Mary had just been visited earlier by the angel Gabriel and was told that she would bear a son, Jesus, who will be "great and called the son of the most high and heir to the ancient throne of David." Mary was told that the Holy Spirit will conceive in her the child Jesus. And Mary replied, "I am the handmaiden of the Lord. May it be to me as you have said."

Mary was first confused. The only person she knew who would understand her was Elizabeth. The angel had told Mary that her relative Elizabeth is going to have a child in her old age and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.

So, Mary prepared for a trip to see Elizabeth. She needed guidance for this unique experience. Mary seeks out Zachariah's home and was received by her cousin Elizabeth. It is likely that Mary had visited there before. Elizabeth, now six months pregnant, comes to the door and greets Mary. Elizabeth hadn't expected her, but now Mary greets her.

The greetings Mary brings to Elizabeth had an effect so powerful that Elizabeth filled with the Holy Spirit. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greetings, the baby in Elizabeth's womb leaped and responded to the presence of the Messiah inside of Mary. Elizabeth said, "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus."

Mary breaks out a Holy Spirit inspired response. She praised the Lord for the awesome blessing on her. She sang, "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoice in God my Savior, for he as been mindful of the humble state of this servant. From now on, all generations will call me blessed, for the mighty one has done great things for me. Holy is his name." (Luke 1:46-49)

Mary contrasts her "humble state" as a servant with God's greatness. She refers to him as the mighty one. And she concludes by affirming God's greatness.

Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months, then returned home.

Mary was an encouragement to Elizabeth. God had planned it for Mary's benefit. She would have been otherwise subjected to cruel slander and shame back home. She would have been misunderstood and rejected. Here at Elizabeth's home, she was loved and accepted.

Elizabeth had asked, "Why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" God must have provided Elizabeth to Mary as a spiritual guardian who would nurture and protect her. Elizabeth was Mary's friend and confidant. Mary was a blessed woman because the Lord was with her. God gave Elizabeth to Mary for a purpose.

All of us will be blessed if we let God dwell in us. God may have plans for this type roles for us. God must have already chosen someone who can help guide us in our life. Let's hope and pray that God will enable us to find "the Elizabeth" who can help in our life's journey. We need God's guidance in finding that person. Let's seek God's help in our pursuit.