The Gospel for December 21st:
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."
It was shortly after the Annunciation that the Blessed Virgin Mary visited her cousin St. Elizabeth, who in a few months would give birth to St. John Baptist.
It was the Blessed Virgin Mary who in her womb bore the King of heaven and earth, the Creator of the world, the Son of the Eternal Father, the Sun of Justice. She was the first missionary and evangelist, as she carried in her womb the Incarnate Word, taking Him to others. And when the two mothers embraced, it was the close proximity of Jesus which brought about the cleansing of John from original sin in his mother's womb. Hearing herself addressed by the most lofty title of "Mother of the Lord" and realizing what grace her visit had conferred on John, the Blessed Virgin would later break out in a canticle of praise proclaiming: "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he that is mighty hath magnified me and holy is His name" (Lk. 1:46).
As we approach the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, all these things should increase and inspire our love and devotion to Mary, Mother of God. In imitation of her, we are all called to be missionaries and evangelists, carrying the Lord Jesus within us so that He might be shown to others through our own words and deeds.