In today's Gospel, the young Mary, already pregnant, visits her cousin Elizabeth and announces her great news: "I'm bursting with God-news," she says. "I'm dancing the song of my savior God. God took one look at me and see what happened! I'm the most fortunate woman on earth."
We know God has a great love for Mary. But we also know that God's love for Mary doesn't guarantee her an easy life, a life without great trials and difficulties. Quite the contrary, during her life Mary earns her title as "Mother of Sorrows." Yet through all her trials, God's love for her is always faithful and her trust in God never wavers.
What of us? We are not Mary! So here is what we want to know: We want to know how long God's love for us will last. Will it last forever, as it did with Mary? Will it remain with us not just on Sunday mornings when we look our best and gather in church for worship? We want to know: does God still love us when we act like jerks? Not when we're peppy and positive and ready to tackle homelessness and world hunger. Not then. We know how God feels about us then. Even we like ourselves then!
We want to know how God feels about us when we snap at anything that moves, when our thoughts are in the gutter, when our tongues are sharp enough to slice a rock. How does God feel about us then? We want to know. Can anything we do or say turn God away? We want to know.
But we already have our answer. God's love for us does not depend on our response to that love. In fact, God answers our question before we ask it. God does what no one ever dreamed possible. God becomes human, flesh and blood dwelling among us, to demonstrate the depth of that love. And then to prove that love once and for all, there is the terrible pain and humiliation of the crucifixion on Calvary.
Today and every day, God tells us in so many ways: "You are special. You are the apple of my eye." Yes, God continues to love us through our good times and bad, through our joys and sufferings. In time and eternity, God remains faithful to this love, for God is love! It's God's very nature! Nothing we can do or say will ever change that! Nothing! So we can sing and dance as Mary did with Elizabeth. And we can proclaim the goodness of God as Mary did: "I'm dancing the song of my savior God. God took one look at me and see what happened! I'm the most fortunate person on earth."