BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches


Simbang Gabi – Day 06

Lk 1:39–45

During those days 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.”

Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth. Two women who, humanly speaking, cannot have children: Mary, because she did not know man, and Elizabeth, because she was barren and past the childbearing age. They were anxious to share together their joy and happiness.

It must be noted that it was Mary who visits Elizabeth. In a sense, this is understandable, for the younger should visit the older, especially considering the long and difficult journey on foot. But on the other hand, this may not look appropriate because Mary is of infinitely higher rank than anyone else since she carries in her womb the Son of God. It is Elizabeth who should visit Mary and pay respect to her.

Be that as it may, the whole story is not about the mothers. It is all about the babies in their wombs: Jesus Christ and John the Baptist. It is not really Mary visiting Elizabeth, but Jesus visiting John. He comes to visit his cousin rather than wait at home to be visited. This is so characteristic of Jesus. He always goes out of His way to reach out to people. For, indeed, “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28).

The excitement is not only in the two women, but also in their offspring. True to the angel’s words to his father, Zechariah, the baby John is “filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb” (Lk 1:15). He leapt for joy upon hearing the voice of Mary and sensing the presence of the Divine Savior. In all truth, we can say that this is the first miracle of Jesus.


Recognizing this as the power of God in Jesus reaching out to her son, Elizabeth herself is also filled with the Holy Spirit and comes to recognize her young cousin as the Mother of her Lord. She exclaims: “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” It is interesting to note that she calls Mary as ‘mother of my Lord’, when in fact it is only a few days after the Angel visited her and conceived the Child.

This is the first point we can ponder upon. Human life begins at the moment of conception. There are many people who, when they see a pregnant woman, would customarily say, “Oh, congratulations! You are now about to become a mother!” This is not correct. She is now a mother, even if she has not yet given birth to her child. That being inside her womb is already a living human being. Clearly, then, abortion, at any stage of pregnancy, is killing another human being. And worse, the killer is its own mother.

And secondly, life is God’s gift to us, but it is not for our own selfish interests. Life spent solely for the self is meaningless. Life gets its full meaning when it is spent for others, when it is used to serve others. The same is true with all the rest of the gifts and graces from God. They cannot and should not be hoarded and kept to oneself.
In the Gospel, Mary cannot but get out of her house and proceed in haste to the house of Elizabeth, not only to share the good news, but to be of service to her in the later part of her pregnancy. The same is true with Jesus. While still in the womb of His mother, He already reaches out to others, bringing joy to the unborn John.

Let us continually thank God for the gift of life. By all means let us protect and defend life all through its stages, from conception to old age. And may we find the full meaning of our life by being of service to our brothers and sisters, especially those in need. This is the sure way to be truly happy this Christmas and every day of our lives.

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches


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