Memory of the Poor

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 1,39-45

Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could into the hill country to a town in Judah.

She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth.

Now it happened that as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

She gave a loud cry and said, 'Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?

Look, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy.

Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel that we just listened to seems to encourage us to prepare our hearts for the birth of Jesus. The evangelist Luke writes that, after hearing from the angel that Elizabeth was pregnant, Mary travels to see her "with haste." The Gospel always hurries us. It pushes us to go outside of our habits, maybe even the good ones, but that are only ours. It exhorts us not to stop in front of the usual concerns and thoughts and to leave the small village of our horizons to hurry towards the day and the place of the birth of Jesus. We can easily imagine how many thoughts Mary must have had just after the Word of God had completely turned her life upside down!
Nevertheless, Mary left Nazareth to go to see the old cousin Elizabeth, at that time six months pregnant, who certainly was in need of help. It was not easy for Mary, very young and pregnant, to cope with a long and uneasy journey. She had to pass through "the mountain," as Luke points out to stress the seriousness of her enterprise. The Gospel always forces us to leave behind our tired habits and urges us to support those who suffer and those in need. It is not a spontaneous choice, especially for us who, unlike Mary, are often guided by our laziness. We need to rely on the Word of God to go beyond ourselves. However, we often trust only our beliefs, our certainties, which obviously appear to us always right. The example of Joseph - the figure that we have meditated a few days ago - is our warning. Mary was touched in the heart by the needs of her cousin; therefore, she went to see her without hesitation. As soon as Elizabeth saw her coming into the house, Elizabeth rejoiced in her very womb. This is the same joy that the weak and poor feel when they are visited by the servants, men and women, of the Lord, those "who believe that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to them by the Lord." The benediction for those, who come with their love to help, arises from the mouths of the poor. A real epiphany of the Holy Spirit is then realized. The smile of the poor is the smile of God, and their joy is the joy of God. The believers will feel back the beauty and the strength of the joy, caused deep in the hearts of the poor. The embrace between the young Mary and the old Elizabeth is the icon of the love, which all the Christians are called to exhibit to the world at the beginning of this millennium.