Daily Gospel – Friday, May 31, 2024 – Luke 1,39-56 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Zephaniah 3,14-18)

Reading of the Prophecy of Zephaniah.

Sing for joy, city of Zion; rejoice, people of Israel! Rejoice and be glad with all your heart, city of Jerusalem! The Lord has revoked the sentence against you, he has removed your enemies; the king of Israel is the Lord, he is in your midst, you will never fear evil again. On that day, it will be said to Jerusalem: “Do not be afraid, Zion, do not be discouraged! The Lord your God is in your midst, the valiant warrior who saves you; he will rejoice over you, moved by love He will rejoice over you in praises, as on the feast days.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Gospel (Luke 1,39-56)

— PROCLAMATION of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke.

— Glory to you, Lord.

In those days, Mary left for the mountainous region, heading hurriedly to a city in Judea. She entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child jumped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. With a loud cry, she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” How can I deserve that the mother of my Lord comes to visit me? As soon as your greeting reached my ears, the child jumped for joy in my womb. Blessed is she who believed, because what the Lord promised her will be fulfilled.”

Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior, because he looked upon the humility of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, because the Almighty has done great things in my favor. His name is holy, and his mercy extends from generation to generation to all who fear him. He has shown the strength of his arm: he has scattered the proud in heart. He has thrown down the mighty from their thrones and raised up the proud. He filled the hungry with good things, and sent away the rich empty-handed. He helped Israel, his servant, remembering his mercy, as he promised our fathers, in favor of Abraham and his descendants, forever.” Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months; then she returned home.

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, what a joy to be gathered today to meditate on the wonderful readings that the liturgy offers us. The Word of God speaks directly to our hearts, bringing us comfort, hope and an invitation to transformation. Today’s readings, taken from the prophet Zephaniah and the Gospel of Luke, lead us to a deep understanding of the joy and salvation that God offers us.

The first reading, from the book of Zephaniah, is a song of joy. The prophet invites us to rejoice with joy because the Lord, our God, is among us. “Sing for joy, daughter of Zion; rejoice, Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem!” (Zephaniah 3:14). Zephaniah announces the arrival of a time of peace and restoration, a time when God will remove the judgments against His people and be present among them as a victorious King. This message is a balm for a people facing oppression and uncertainty.

Let’s imagine a scenario that helps us understand the depth of this message. Let us think of a family that suffered for many years with war, hunger and hopelessness. One day, they receive news that peace has been restored and that a new just and merciful leader will take care of them. The joy this family feels upon knowing that their suffering has come to an end is immense, almost indescribable. It is this same joy that Zephaniah is proclaiming for Israel – a joy that is not just emotional, but transformative.

God promises to be among His people, bringing salvation and restoration with Him. “The Lord your God is in your midst as a mighty savior. He will exult you with joy, he will renew you with his love, he will exult over you with praises” (Zephaniah 3,17). This promise is an invitation to trust God, even in the most difficult situations in our lives. He is with us, He loves us and saves us. God’s love is a love that renews, that heals, that transforms.

Now, we move to the Gospel of Luke, which presents us with Mary’s encounter with Elizabeth. This encounter is one of the most beautiful and significant scenes in the New Testament. Mary, after receiving news from the angel Gabriel that she would be the mother of the Savior, runs to the mountainous region to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who is also miraculously pregnant. When Mary arrives and greets Elizabeth, the child in Elizabeth’s womb jumps for joy and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, exclaims: “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! How can I deserve that the mother of my Lord comes to visit me?” (Luke 1,42-43).

This moment is filled with joy and recognition of the divine presence. The meeting between Mary and Elizabeth is a celebration of God’s wonderful work in their lives. Mary, full of grace, then sings the Magnificat, a song of praise and thanksgiving to God. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit exults in God my Savior, because it has looked upon the humility of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed” (Luke 1:46-48).

Mary shows us the perfect attitude of response to God’s call: humility, joy and total trust. Mary’s song is a profound expression of her faith and her understanding of God’s action in the history of salvation. She recognizes that God brings down the powerful and exalts the humble, that he satisfies the hungry and sends the rich away empty-handed. Mary not only accepts the mission given to her, but also deeply rejoices in participating in the divine plan.

This reading invites us to reflect on the true joy that comes from God. We often seek joy in fleeting things – success, material possessions, recognition. But true joy comes from encountering God, recognizing His action in our lives and accepting His transforming love. Mary and Elizabeth are living examples of this joy that transcends human circumstances and is rooted in the certainty of God’s presence and promise.

Let’s consider a practical example to illustrate this truth. Imagine someone who, in the midst of financial difficulties and family problems, finds strength and comfort in prayer and faith in God. This person, despite their problems, maintains an inner joy that surprises everyone around them. It is not a superficial joy, but a deep joy that is born from trust in God and the certainty of his love.

How can we apply these readings to our lives today? First, we are invited to recognize the presence of God in our midst. In times of difficulty, remembering that God is with us, like a powerful savior, gives us strength and hope. Second, we are called to respond with the same humility and joy as Mary. As we recognize God’s blessings in our lives, we are called to sing our own Magnificat, thanking and praising God for His goodness and mercy.

Finally, these readings challenge us to be bringers of joy. Just as Mary brought the joy of Christ’s presence to Elizabeth, we are called to bring the joy of the Gospel to others. This can be done in many ways – through a smile, a word of encouragement, a gesture of kindness. As we do this, we spread God’s light and love in the world.

Let us now take a moment of silence, reflecting on how we can live this joy in our daily lives. Let us close our eyes and ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with His joy, to transform us and make us instruments of His peace and love.

Lord, we thank You for today’s lessons. Help us to recognize Your presence in our midst, to respond with joy and humility to Your call and to be bearers of Your joy to the world. May we live like Mary, with a heart full of gratitude and praise. Amen.

My brothers and sisters, as we leave here today, let us take with us the joy and hope that comes from God. May we be light in the world, reflecting the love of Christ in all our actions. May God’s grace accompany us and may we be instruments of his peace and love. Remember, we are called to be joy and light – let us shine and spread God’s love wherever we go. Amen.