Leaping for Joy


Luke 1:42-45 (New Century Version)
Elizabeth cried out in a loud voice, “God has blessed you more than any other woman, and he has blessed the baby to which you will give birth. Why has this good thing happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? When I heard your voice, the baby inside me jumped with joy. You are blessed because you believed that what the Lord said to you would really happen.”

No doubt Mary had looked up for years to her much older cousin Elizabeth. Now Elizabeth joyfully shouted out that she is blessed by Mary’s visit, because Mary already carries in her womb “my Lord.” This is the first time that Jesus was called “Lord” by a human being, and he had not even taken his first breath of air yet!

Elizabeth’s beautiful declaration will be very familiar to people from the Roman Catholic tradition. It is the foundation of the Hail Mary prayer: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. The Lord of the universe, of the church, of our lives — all brought into existence through the faithful obedience of a young woman named Mary. The Lord, first celebrated by Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, who carried in her own body the baby who would be John the Baptist.

And, just as John would eventually proclaim Jesus the Messiah at his baptism, so here the unborn John leapt for joy at the presence of his Lord.

What does the phrase “Jesus is Lord” mean to you?

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