Scripture: Lectionary 198. Song of Songs or Zephaniah 3:14-18. Psalm
33:2-3.11-12.20-21. Luke 1:39-45

Today's Readings
Greetings! Singing! and Meeting!. Mary's yes is joyfully responded to by
our entering into the spirit of the three words we started with and are
present within the context of today's readings at the Eucharist. We see
Mary going hastily to meet her cousin Elizabeth and to greet her. Mary is
greeted in Zephaniah as the Daughter of Zion who has the king within her.
John the Baptist and Jesus leap for joy in the encounter of the two
mothers, Mary and Elizabeth. Mary goes quickly in order not to delay the
"good news" they both need to share; Mary will also help Elizabeth for
three months and then return home. They not only meet one another but their
babies are likewise meeting each ofther for the first time. Which one is
the greatest to be born of woman? They both point to the other as
deserving that encomium.

Both at the Annunciation to Mary and in the prophetic text of Zephaniah
dedicated to the Daughter of Zion, the word Chaire (Hail, Greetings,
Shalom, Hello) begins the scenes that are inspirational and prophetic.
Mary, of course, enjoys the new name as "the one so highly favored and
graced by God" (kecharitomene).

The Psalm does not allow us to stand still. We are to join the first
reading and the Gospel together by singing: Cry out with joy to the Lord,
you holy ones; sing a new song to him." (Psalm 33:1.3.) Singing is our
second word of the Scriptures for today and we should join in with others
for singing some Advent and Christmas hymns. We certainly will be hearing
some on our technical hook-ups an on the radio.

In Greek the word for the meeting of Mary and Joseph in the Temple with
Simeon is HYPAPANTE. The word is attached to the feast that closes the
Christmas cycle and is called the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple,
and formerly, the Feast of the Purication forty days after the birth of
Jesus. It is also called Candlemass Day.

Each mystery of the Virgin Mary unravels into another as we continue to
listen to the biblical stories about her. We take her for our guide to the
manger and always are sure of finding the Christ Child with her and through
her. We rejoice that within five days we will celebrate the birthday of
her son. Yes, Mary, blessed is the fruit of your womb and blessed in
Jesus. Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus, come! Amen.