1st Reading: Zep 3:14-18 (or Rom 12:9-16)
Cry out with joy, O daughter of Zion; rejoice, O people of Israel! Sing joyfully with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem!
Yahweh has lifted your sentence and has driven your enemies away. Yahweh, the King of Israel is with you; do not fear any misfortune.
On that day they will say to Jerusalem: Do not be afraid nor let your hands tremble, for Yahweh your God is within you, Yahweh, saving warrior. He will jump for joy on seeing you, for he has revived his love. For you he will cry out with joy, as you do in the days of the Feast.
I will drive away the evil I warned you about, and you will no longer be shamed.
Gospel: Luke 1:39-56
Mary then set out for a town in the Hills of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with holy spirit, and giving a loud cry, said, “You are most blessed among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! How is it that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. (…)”
And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit exults in God my savior!
He has looked upon his servant in her lowliness,
and people forever will call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me,
Holy is his Name!
From age to age his mercy extends
to those who live in his presence.
He has acted with power and done wonders,
and scattered the proud with their plans.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones
and lifted up those who are downtrodden.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He held out his hand to Israel, his servant,
for he remembered his mercy,
even as he promised our fathers,
Abraham and his descendants forever.”
Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned home.
This is the second of two cures of blind men in Mark’s gospel. Opening the eyes of the blind was prophesied as one of the works of the Messiah. In fact, in the very next scene, he is being proclaimed by the crowds as Messiah. Gone is the secrecy of before; the ‘messianic secret’ is out! They are approaching Jerusalem (15 miles away), where the story will reach its climax with his death and resurrection. In Jerusalem many eyes will still be blind to him; or worse, will be watching him with malevolent intent. In the meantime, Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, having received his sight, followed him to Jerusalem. This is a meditation on the different kinds of blindness.
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