As we reflect upon the visitation of Elizabeth by Mary it is good for us to ask ourselves whether or not we practice the discipline of visiting those around us who are in need. Even though they can be living a city of millions of people, there are often people who are terribly lonely. There are also those who have been confined in a hospital for reasons of sickness and those who are in jail for breaking the law. There is never going to be a shortage of people who need to be visited by kindhearted people who will set the time aside to carry out this Christian duty.

It is not just a matter of caring for our friends and relatives in these situations. Jesus is quite clear that we have a responsibility to make ourselves available to ‘any of the least of His brethren’ (Mt 25) and visit them in their time of need. I am sure that none of us would enjoy the enforced solitude of a lack of visitors in a time of confinement. Jesus affirms that we visit Him when we visit our neighbor in need. Not only do we visit Jesus in the other person, but we also bring Him to them in our own person. You might say that we have a double visit of Jesus occurring whenever two or more people gather in His name.

It is not only our duty according to Christian love to visit others in their need, but it is also an opportunity for us to share the Gospel with them. When I used to visit the sick once a week as a part of my formation, on reflection I came to the conclusion that I was the one who was more greatly blessed by sharing with them. It was their faith in the face of terrible suffering that put my little faith to shame and challenged me to grow. I hope I was able to bring some comfort to them as well!

Mary visits Elizabeth out of love and concern for her; let us pray for the grace to grow in love and concern for the brothers and sisters around us who would greatly appreciate a visit from us.

When was the last time I visited a relative or friend who was in need? When was the last time, out of Christian charity, I went out of my way to visit someone I did not know in order to express love and concern for their plight?

Father in Heaven, you sent Jesus to redeem us because you knew that was the only way we could be reconciled with you. Help me to make Jesus welcome as the Lord of my life. Teach me how to share His presence with those who need to get to know Him the most.