Luke 1:39-45 (46-55)
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
This beautiful passage takes us to the reunion of two women who are very close. Elizabeth and Mary were cousins and had similar situations of unexpected, shocking pregnancies.
Mary went to visit her cousin and “when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” The child within Elizabeth could recognize the sacredness of the child within Mary. Elizabeth, being in tune with her child and her faith, was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Recognizing what is holy and sacred in our midst is a spiritual discipline. Awareness of the holy that is around us allows us to focus on what offers us life and sustains us. It allows us to focus on the parts of this world that offer hope.
Recognizing the holy in others is not reserved for persons living thousands of years ago, in a different part of the world. We can recognize the holy in each other today. We can also feel the holy within us.
Unfortunately, there are stigmas and barriers in this world that provoke “othering” that may keep us apart. When we succumb to stereotypes about someone who is not just like us, we miss gaining a fuller understanding of that person. We lose the chance to enjoy the presence of another and to learn and grow with that person. We also miss the chance to see the holy in others.
Even with God as our creator, in our human outlook, it can be easy to overlook the beauty in our lives. We find ways to turn away from each other. It is hard to practice vulnerability and humility in order to be fully with each other.
Yet, Mary and Elizabeth modeled pure joy and hope in their ability to witness how God was working in both of their lives. They rejoiced together. May we have the same awareness and courage to see the holy around us.