July 2, 2008 - The Visitation

Today's Reading: Luke 1:39-56

Daily Lectionary: Joshua 7:1-26; Acts 10:34-48

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. (Luke 1:41)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. This is perhaps one of the simplest and clearest references in Holy Scripture that babies believe. Already in the womb, John the Baptist heard God's Word and leaped for joy. Elsewhere, Jesus said, “Unless you receive the kingdom of heaven as a little child, you cannot enter it.” (Mark 10:15). Here is the most precious example of exactly that: A baby hears the Word of God and receives it. Can a baby make a decision? Can a baby commit its life to Christ? No, a baby just receives. Its food. Its life. Its birth.

Jesus was in the womb for us. He was going to be born sinless, because we are born sinful. He takes on pure and sinless flesh in the Virgin's womb, because our flesh is spotted and stained and ruined by sin. And when He who is in the womb of Mary comes to John in his mother's womb, John rejoices. Already he's doing his job of pointing to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Here, Mary is a picture of the church who gives birth to us from the womb of the font. By water and the Spirit you have been born from above in Holy Baptism. And just as Elizabeth and John rejoiced to have their Lord present in His mother, so we rejoice that Jesus dwells in the church and comes to us. In fact, He doesn't just visit us in Baptism, the Lord comes to us whenever His Word is preached, whenever sinners are absolved, whenever His body and blood are given to us.

How about you? When Jesus visits, do you leap for joy? When Jesus arrived in Mary's womb, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is always where Jesus is. When Jesus comes to visit you in His Word and gifts, the Holy Spirit fills you, too. And there is no doubt that your sins are forgiven, that the lowly are lifted up, that the Lord is working His salvation for you. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Almighty God, who has dealt wonderfully with Your handmaiden, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and has chosen her to be the mother of Your Son and has graciously made known that You regard the poor and lowly and despised, grant us grace in all humility and meekness to receive Your Word with hearty faith and so be made one with Jesus Christ, our Lord; who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Collect for the Visitation).