May 31, 2012 - Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Zephaniah 3:14-18 or Romans 12:9-16
Isaiah 12:2-6
Luke 1:39-56

Can you name all the people involved in today’s Gospel? We have, first of all, Mary, the Mother of God. Within her womb is Jesus, still only an embryo. Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, whom she has come to visit, is present, along with John the Baptist, her son, who is still within her. The Holy Spirit is present, because Elizabeth is “filled with the Holy Spirit”. The Father is present, not only because, as God, he is always and everywhere present, but also because the Father is always present when the Son and the Holy Spirit are present.

So it is that there are six people in today’s Gospel: the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, Mary, Elizabeth, and John the Baptist. An external observer of the occasion would only see two women talking. So it is in our everyday life. We consider only the external, only what is seen. Unseen realities are no less real. Proof of this blindness is the fact that we consider a mother killing a child who has been born to be a worse crime than a mother killing a child who has not been born. We forget that existence is not dependent on our own perspective.

So in this moment, as we are gathered here today, we ought to consider who is actually present among us right now. We have gathered here in Jesus’ name, so we know, according to his promise, that he is present here among us. So too is the Holy Spirit, who is present in the soul of every confirmed Christian. So too is the Father, who is always present along with his Son and Holy Spirit. Also present here right now are all the saints and angels of heaven. They are with God, and God is here.

There are demons here too. Wherever sinful humanity is, the demons who would like to see us abandon God and go to Hell are present too. There is a spiritual battle going on in the invisible world. The existence of this battle is not dependent on whether we can see it. Just as all the people on the other side of the world go on living their lives even when we are not paying attention, so too this battle is fought every day as we live naively ignorant. Someday we will see things as they really are, and we will be amazed at what has been happening all around us.