The Power of a Visit

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“And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Luke 1:41)

In a world like ours where social media connects us so powerfully to millions of people yet leaves us totally empty inside, today’s feast may just be considered therapeutic. Indeed, there is no way we can overemphasize the importance of physical visits especially to those really in need.

Mary’s visit to Elizabeth was simply put, the best gift Elizabeth needed at that point in time. Mind you, all her life, Elizabeth was an object of mockery by all. Most of her neighbours didn’t know her by name but they referred to her as “the barren woman.” Even the Angel Gabriel had to qualify her with this title when describing her to Mary.

How often do I reach out to those whom society rejects? How often do I visit those who are the object of scorn and mockery in my neighbourhood? When I hear something about a friend of mine, do I summon the courage to go and visit them even if to find out the true story, or do I gladly partake in name-calling, gossip, and character assassination?

Apart from her poor social reputation, Elizabeth had another downside; she was advanced in age. The truth we must admit is that human society has never been fair to the old. Those who have children are even lucky in the sense that their children come around to say “hello” from time to time. The wealthier ones employ house-helps to live with their aged parents. But what happens to those likely in the shoes of Elizabeth? Old and childless?

Has it ever occurred to you the magnitude of sufferings endured by old people who are childless? When last did I decide to just pay a visit to the “Old People’s Home” in my diocese? When last did I think of bringing something to that old woman who lives all by herself in my village or community? You know, it is even more painful to consider the fact that given our African mentality, such persons are for no reason tagged as witches or persons just being punished by God for crimes they must have committed in the past.

Let today’s feast so touch our minds to repent and consider paying a visit to old people. We may not have money to give but come to think of it, do old people need our money? Not at all. They need our presence. They need someone to talk to, someone to advise for free; someone to help them psychologically settle scores they may still be carrying from the past.

The third issue with Elizabeth was that she was pregnant. Yes, pregnant at the wrong time. If pregnancy can be a drag to young people; some of whom even have to drop out of school and so on, how can an old woman manage a pregnancy? This is notwithstanding the labelling or stigma from the society because such occurrence is not the normal cycle of things.

As soon as Mary heard, she immediately put herself in Elizabeth’s shoes, she knew the old woman needed help and she ran as fast as she could to volunteer. She forgot herself, she didn’t consider that she had just become the Mother of God and was carrying the King of Kings in her womb, she ran to become a servant, a slave, an errand-girl to Elizabeth. Mary was with Elizabeth for three months meaning she remained till Elizabeth delivered her baby before returning back home. If not for the fact that Mary herself was also pregnant, I am sure she would have stayed longer.

Let us not be bothered with our own problems that we become blind and deaf to the cries of people around us. Learn to put yourself in other people’s shoes. Learn from Mary to humble yourself and come to the aid of people. Begin to visit people today.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, touch my heart to act like Mary who visited Elizabeth and brought joy to her home. May I be a carrier of joy wherever I go. Amen.

Bible Study: Zephaniah 3:14-18, Isaiah 12, Luke 1:39-56)

© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu