Can we talk about this picture for a sec? Just a real quick sec?
It’s a picture of Mary and her cousin Elizabeth, the Visitation (obviously). Yes, it’s from the Nativity Story movie.
But look at those two. We know that John literally jumped in his mother’s womb when Mary approached (Lk 1:41). Can you imagine, especially you mothers, the child inside you leaping at the sound of somebody’s voice? Even as a teeny little baby in Elizabeth’s womb, John knew his Lord and Savior was approaching.
Can you imagine Mary, with her quiet faith and just starting to accept that fact that God was inside of her? Here is her cousin, much older than she, running up to her saying, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk1:42-43)
Obviously they are both filled with joy and we can imagine Elizabeth reaching out to feel her Lord in Mary’s stomach. Look at how beautiful and tender and joyful that moment was. Pure joy radiating on their faces.
Both of them, docile to the Lord’s will. Complete trust, even when circumstances are unusual (Mary’s virginal conception and Elizabeth’s aged one), in their Lord. Neither of them seeking their own gain, but all for the glory of God.
Look at Mary’s face. She knows she carries God in her womb. We can imagine that when she was with Elizabeth, she started to understand more fully the magnitude of who was inside of her. What sort of impact Jesus would make. It probably started to hit her that her Son would change the world. Forever.
I don’t know about you guys, but I LOVE the Visitation.
In the Abrahamic religions, Gabriel (Hebrew: גַּבְרִיאֵל Gavri'el “God is my strength”) is an angel who typically serves as God’s messenger. Gabriel is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. In the Old Testament, he appears to the prophet Daniel, explaining Daniel’s visions. In the Gospel of Luke, Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and the Virgin Mary, foretelling the births of John the Baptist and Jesus, respectively. In the Book of Daniel, he is referred to as “the man Gabriel”, while in the Gospel of Luke, Gabriel is referred to as “an angel of the Lord”. Gabriel is not called an archangel in the Bible, but is so called in Intertestamental period sources like the Book of Enoch. According to Jewish mythology, in the Garden of Eden there is a tree of life or the “tree of souls” that blossoms and produces new souls, which fall into the Guf, the Treasury of Souls. Gabriel reaches into the treasury and takes out the first soul that comes into his hand. Then Lailah, the Angel of Conception, watches over the embryo until it is born. X
Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons and Emeli Sandé join the London African Gospel Choir to perform at the War Child Winter Wassail in London on November 27, 2014. This is a backstage express rehearsal prior to the fundraiser later that night.
Luke 2:10-11 (NIV) But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
16th March >> Pope Francis' Homily during Mass at Santa Marta: Damned are those who don't care for the poor and homeless.
(Vatican Radio) The parable of the poor man, Lazarus, lying at the rich man’s door, was at the heart of Pope Francis’ homily at the Santa Marta Mass on Thursday morning. The Pope warned of the risks we run if we have the same uncaring attitude towards the poor and homeless people we see around us today.
Lilsten to Philippa Hitchen’s report:
Reflecting on the Gospel story of Lazarus, found in St Luke’s Gospel, Pope Francis warned against those who place their trust in things of the flesh. Trusting in vanity, pride and riches, he said, will distance us from the Lord. He highlighted the fruitfulness of those who trust in the Lord and the sterility of those who rely only on themselves and the things they can control.
When people live in a closed environment, surrounded by wealth and vanity and trusting in their own devices, the Pope said, those people lose their sense of direction and have no idea of their limitations. Exactly as happens to the rich man in the Gospel who spends his time at dinner parties and takes no notice of the poor man lying at his door.
He knew who that poor man was, he even knew his name, but he just didn’t care, the Pope said. Was he a sinner? Yes, he was, and though the Lord forgives those who repent, this man’s heart was leading him on a one-way road to death. There is a moment, Pope Francis stressed, a line that we cross when sin turns into corruption. This man was not simply a sinner but a corrupt person because he was aware of all the suffering but he couldn’t care less.
Damned are those who place their hope in themselves, the Pope said, because there is nothing more treacherous than a hardened heart. Once we are on that road, he added, it’s very hard for our hearts to be healed.
What do we feel in our hearts when we see the homeless or the children begging in the streets, Pope Francis asked? Do we say, ‘No, those are the ones who steal? What do we feel for the poor or the homeless, even if they are well dressed but they don’t have a job and can’t pay the rent? Do we say this is normal? Do we see the homeless as part of the landscape of our cities, like statues or bus stops or post offices?
We must be careful, the Pope warned, because if we eat, drink and assuage our consciences by simply giving a coin and walking past, this is not the right way to go. Instead, he said, we must realise when we are on that slippery slope from sin to corruption. We must ask ourselves, what do I feel when I see on the news that a bomb has fallen on a hospital and lots of poor children have been killed? Do I just say a prayer and go on my way like before? Is my heart touched, or am I like the rich man whose heart was not touched by Lazarus but only the dogs had pity on him? If that is the case, the Pope said, we are on the road from sin to corruption.
For this reason, he concluded we must ask the Lord to look into our hearts to see if we are on that slippery slope to corruption, from which there is no return. Sinners can repent and turn back, he said, but it is very hard for those with closed and corrupt hearts, so let us pray that the Lord will show us which road we are following.