(Adults, you could begin by reading the Gospel aloud to the child. The Magnificat is long for little people, so you could stop reading after verse 49.)
This Sunday is a special feast day. In the middle of the summer, we stop to celebrate Mary. We know that the angel Gabriel, a messenger from God, tells Mary that God would like her to be the mother of Jesus. Mary does not know Jesus yet, but she says yes, she will be his mother. The angel's words make him sound very important but he is only a baby--a baby not yet born. Who is he? In the Gospel for this Sunday, the angel has gone, and Mary goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth.
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
Elizabeth is old. She is old like a grandmother, but she is not a grandmother. She has never even been a mother. Old people do not have babies, but God has surprised Elizabeth! She is going to have a baby. Nothing will be impossible with God.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb.
Now that is interesting. When Mary says hello to Elizabeth, the child inside of Elizabeth leaps. Inside of his mother, the baby jumps. We wonder why he does that.
And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy.
Aha! Elizabeth's child leaps for joy! Some people think that joy is the same as being happy, but it is so much more. Joy fills up our whole bodies. It cannot be kept inside of us. It bubbles up and spills over. When joy fills up the body of the baby inside of Elizabeth, it bubbles up, spills over, and the baby leaps!
Only One person makes Joy bubble up inside of us.
Why does Elizabeth's baby leap for joy? Elizabeth knows. Let's listen to her words again:
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
Elizabeth tells Mary that she is blessed. What does "blessed" mean? We know that it means God is with her. Elizabeth tells Mary that fruit of her womb is blessed, too. The fruit of Mary's womb is the baby growing inside of Mary. God is with the baby inside of Mary. Who is this baby?
And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?
Elizabeth calls Mary "the mother of my Lord." Who is the Lord? Elizabeth knows who Mary's baby is. She does not know his name is Jesus, yet, but she knows he is the Lord.
How can Elizabeth know this? This is a mysterious knowing. It is a knowing that can only come from One person.
Let's remember what happens first, before Elizabeth begins to speak:
Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
The Spirit of God fills Elizabeth and she knows, she just knows who this baby of Mary's is. What about the baby inside of Elizabeth, the one who leaps for joy? What does he know? Does he know who is near, too?
Elizabeth knows who Mary's baby is and she exclaims with a loud cry. Her knowing fills us now, too.
Elizabeth's baby knows who Mary's baby is and he leaps for joy. His joy fills us now, too!
What will we do with our knowing and our joy?