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Devotional thoughts for Sunday 30th Nov 03 (St. Mary's journey to Elizabeth)

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  • Jose Kurian Puliyeril
    (St. Mary�����s Journey to Elizabeth, mother of St. John.- the forerunner of our Lord,) Reading: Gospel according to St. Luke 1: 39-56. Dear and Respected
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 29, 2003
      (St. Mary�s Journey to Elizabeth, mother of St. John.-
      the forerunner of our Lord,)

      Reading: Gospel according to St. Luke 1: 39-56.

      Dear and Respected Brethren,

      The main theme of today�s reading is related to our
      Holy Mother St. Mary�s visit to her relative, Elizabeth,
      wife of Priest Zechariahs and the connected events. We
      could find so many similarities as well as dissimilarities
      in the lives of those two noble ladies, even though there
      was a big gap in between the age of both. Both of them
      had conceived unexpectedly and miraculously. Sons of
      both spoke the same message to the world �the Kingdom
      of God is at hand, so repent�. If the old lady was the
      wife of a priest, the young lady was the mother of the
      eternal High Priest. If Elizabeth was the wife of the
      person who was the caretaker of the hard and fast
      rules/regulations of the Jewish religion, St. Mary
      appears there as the mother of Lord Jesus, who taught
      that the rules are made for the mankind and not man for
      the rules. Holy Church Fathers honor and respect both
      as two ships, which traveled to the port of heavenly
      peace through the oceans of high tides, tensions and
      hardships. If one had carried the Prince of Peace,
      the other had carried the forerunner of the Prince of
      Peace. That is how the Holy Church and the Church Fathers
      are honoring both.

      We should not forget that Zechariahs, the priest, was the
      only person from the mankind who used to visit St. Mary
      in her childhood days. (While she remained in the house
      of God) So in those days St. Mary might have enjoyed a
      fatherly affection and care from Zechariahs. Being a
      respected person of honor, there was ample chance for
      him to get angry while learning that the young girl was
      carrying prior to her marriage (as against the usual
      human understanding.) Moreover many would have questioned
      him to understand the reality. At the same time the reality
      was not revealed to him. So God might have kept him dumb,
      not only for disbelieving God�s power, but also to save
      him from a sin of getting angry to the Mother of God.

      In Vs 40 we read �And entered into the house of Zechariahs
      and saluted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard the salutation
      of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was
      filled with the Holy Spirit. We should not forget that
      here salutation was granted by St. Mary only. That is
      what is witnessed in the Holy Bible. Let us think how
      St. Mary might have saluted Elizabeth. There is no need
      to think much. In those days one used to greet others
      with the phrase �Slommo� meaning peace. In our Orthodox
      tradition we used to say �Barekmor� when priests and
      Bishops are seen and they used to reply back �peace be
      upon you� (granting peace and blessings from God
      Almighty together). Now this tradition is almost out
      of use. The Jews as well as the Muslims all over the
      world still maintain the system of exchanging peace.
      These two religions are exchanging peace in the faith
      that real peace comes from God. These verses are
      good enough to resist the false teachings against the
      intercession to St. Mary, Mother of God. If her words
      could provide the Holy Spirit to Elizabeth, she could
      invoke the Holy Spirit in one and all who would seek
      her intercession. It proves that the intercession to
      St. Mary could provide others and us blessings and

      In verses 46-55, we read the very meaningful and
      attractive hymn of St. Mary. This praise is of great
      significance and uniqueness. It is considered as the
      manifesto of the revolutionary deeds and master plans
      of our Savior. Theologians are of the opinion that
      this praise is similar and identical to the praise of
      Hannah I Samuel 2:1-8. Let us try to understand the deep
      meaning of this praise and to gain more spiritual
      strength from it. May God bless us all.

      Jose Kurian Puliyeril.
      St. George Orthodox Church
      Abu Dhabi
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