(4thSunday of Advent: Micah 5:1-4; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45)
Mary had received great news, two things. First that she was to be the mother of the Messiah. Second, that Elizabeth, an elderly relative, was six months pregnant! Her response was to go, indeed, to hurry to Elizabeth’s home to help her. She who had called herself the handmaid of the Lord, eager to do his will, placed herself also at the service of her kinswoman.
When Mary arrived, her greeting was great news to Elizabeth’s ears, literally a revelation, as she suddenly understood Mary’s place in God’s plan and called her “mother of my Lord.”
At the birth of Elizabeth’s son John, his father Zechariah rejoices that God has “visited” his people, a typically poetic biblical expression to say that God has intervened in his people’s life and history.
Angels visited shepherds with “good news of great joy,” the shepherds visited the Holy Family in the stable, later the Magi, guided by Micah’s prophecy, also found him.
Through missionaries especially, the Church “visits” many peoples, bringing the great news that we call the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Our Lady of La Salette is often called a “heavenly Visitor.” She “visited her people,” bringing what she called “great news.” The news was not just for the two children to whom she appeared, since she told them—twice—to make this known to all her people.
The children did indeed make it known. Then, in 1852, just six years after the Apparition, the Bishop of Grenoble founded the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette for the same purpose, and in 1855 his successor stated clearly that the Church had taken up the mission originally entrusted to the children.
“The Church” means both the Bishops who have the first responsibility to see that the authentic Good News is passed on from one generation to the next, and the Christian faithful who share how both the Gospel and, in the case of the Beautiful Lady, the great news of La Salette, have touched their lives with peace.
Micah says of the Messiah: “He shall be peace.” Our world sorely needs that Visitor still.