Reading 1 (ZEPHANIAH 3:14-18A)

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Zephaniah

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart, 
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you,
he has turned away your enemies;
The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear.
On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
He will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals.

– The word of the Lord.

Or   (ROMANS 12:9-16)

A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans

Brothers and sisters:
Let love be sincere;
hate what is evil,
hold on to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection;
anticipate one another in showing honor.
Do not grow slack in zeal,
be fervent in spirit,
serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope,
endure in affliction,
persevere in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the holy ones,
exercise hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you,
bless and do not curse them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice,
weep with those who weep.
Have the same regard for one another;
do not be haughty but associate with the lowly;
do not be wise in your own estimation.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (ISAIAH 12:2-3, 4BCD, 5-6)

R.(6)  Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst 
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.

Alleluia (SEE LUKE 1:45)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (LUKE 1:39-56)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“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?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”

Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: The Feast of the Visitation celebrated today is between the Solemnities of the Annunciation of the Lord (March 25) and the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (June 24). The Gospel tells us what is this Feast is all about (Luke 1:39-56). After the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary the Good News, she also was moved by the news that her cousin, Elizabeth, is on her sixth month. So she decided to travel to the Hill of Judah in haste, although the time of travel would take several days since the distance from Nazareth to Ein Karem is 145 km. What happened here is that the infant in Elizabeth’s womb, John the Baptist, leapt for joy because she saw in the womb of Mary the Saviour Jesus Christ. This recalls the action when King David leapt for joy when he saw the Ark of the Covenant (Cf. 2 Samuel 6:16). As for Elizabeth, she gave thanks to God and blessed her cousin, which inspired the second part of the Hail Mary. As for Mary, she sang her canticle of thanksgiving, which is also known as the Magnificat. The Blessed Mother is the Ark of the New Covenant because she brings in her womb Jesus, the fulfilment of the Law. The Good News was carried out by two women, one who gave thanks to the Lord for the child she will bear after many barren years (Elizabeth) and one who visited someone about to give birth to the awaited Savior (Mary). So as we journey down the end of this Easter road, may the Visitation event inspire us to bring the Good News of God’s plan of salvation to others by love, service, humility, and gratitude.

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