23-December-2012 -- Vatican Information Service |

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The Visitation Represents The Beauty Of Hospitality

THE VISITATION REPRESENTS THE BEAUTY OF HOSPITALITY

Vatican City, 23 December 2012 (VIS) - The Gospel of this fourth Sunday of Advent preceding the birth of the Lord narrates Mary's visit to her relative Elizabeth. "This episode is not merely a simple gesture of courtesy, but rather depicts with great simplicity the encounter between the Old and New Testaments", explained the Pope to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus. "The two women, both expectant mothers, incarnate both expectation and the expected One. The older Elizabeth symbolises Israel, whereas the younger Mary carries within her the fulfilment of expectation, to the benefit of all humanity".

"Elizabeth, welcoming Mary, recognises that God's promise to humanity is being realised and exclaims: "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! How is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me?". John's leap for joy recalls David's dance when he accompanied the entrance of the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem. The soon-to-be-born John exults with joy before Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant, who bears Jesus in her womb, the Son of God made man.

"The scene of the Visitation also expresses the beauty of hospitality: where there is mutual welcome, listening, accommodating the other, there we find God and the joy that emanates from him. Let us imitate Mary during the Christmas season, visiting those who are in difficulty, especially the sick, prisoners, the elderly and children. And let us also imitate Elizabeth who welcomes the guest as if he were God Himself: unless we wish for the Lord we will never know Him; unless we expect Him, we will never meet Him, unless we seek Him, we will never find Him. With the same joy as Mary, who hastens to Elizabeth, we too must approach the Lord, who in turn comes to us. Let us pray that all men seek God, and in doing so discover that it is God Himself who comes first to us", concluded the Holy Father.

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