Luke’s Nativity: December 20

Then Mariam, filled with hope from Gabriel’s words, eagerly left for the hill country, into a city of Judea.  She went to the house of Zachariah.

When she got close, she yelled out to Elizabeth.  And it happened that, as Elisabeth began hearing Mary’s greeting, the baby kicked hard in her womb.  And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

She shouted back two spontaneous things: “blessed are you among women,” and “the fruit of your womb is blessed.”

“How is this happening to me?” Elizabeth went on to say,

“How is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For here is a sign: as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby kicked hard in my womb with great joy.

“Blessed is the one (you Mariam) who believed God’s words to her would come true.”




“When someone wants to be believed it is normal that he should give reasons why he should be believed.  The angel, when announcing the mystery, gave Mary a proof or precedent that would enable her to believe him.  He therefore announced to Mary, a virgin, that an old and hitherto barren woman was now expecting a child.  This was to show that God can do what he likes.  On learning this, Mary set off at once for the hill country.  This was not from any lack of faith in the prophecy, not from any doubt regarding the precedent that he had spoken of.  No, she went out of sheer joy, out of pure desire to fulfill a duty of love.  Filled from now on with God, where should she hasten if not to the heights?”

St. Ambrose, Commentary on Luke: Book 2.

“For, unless the Savior’s birth had been heavenly and blessed, unless it had had something of the divine that surpassed human nature, his teaching would never have spread to the whole world.  If only a man had been in Mary’s womb and not the Son of God, how could it happen ­– both at that time and now – that many diseases are cured, not only of bodies but also of souls?  Who of us was not once foolish? Now, because of God’s mercy, we have understanding, and we know God. Who of us believed in justice? Now, because of Christ, we possess justice and follow it.  Who of us was not wandering aimlessly, and vacillating? Now, because of the Savior’s coming, we are not tossed about by the waves or agitated.  We are on our way – that is, we are in him who says, ‘I am the Way.’

“When we collect the rest of the testimony, too, we can see that everything written about him is reported as divine, and worthy of wonder.  His birth, his growth, his power, his Passion, and his Resurrection were effective not only in their own time but now too, in us.  You new believers – who gathered you into the Church?  What compelled you to leave your houses and come together in this assembly? We did not go to you from house to house.  The Almighty Father put this zeal into your hearts by his invisible power.  He knows you are worthy.  He wills you to come to faith, reluctant and doubtful as you are, especially at the beginning of your religious faith. Timid and frightened, you received faith in salvation with fear…Follow Jesus, who goes before you. He draws you to salvation.  He gathers you into the Church, which in this age is on earth…

“‘Blessed is she who believed.’ And blessed is he who believed. ‘Because what the Lord said to them will be fulfilled.’ Hence Mary glorifies the Lord Jesus.”

Origen, Homilies on Luke: Homily 7.

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