Scripture

Luke 1:39-56

39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea,40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Mary’s Song

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.”

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

Reflection

Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Elizabeth, her cousin and mother of John the Baptist, both see clearly what God is about to do. God is about to change the course of all human history with the birth of a baby and two obscure, humble women. Elizabeth was old and barren and Mary was young and a virgin. I find it remarkable that God chose to do such a mighty work through these cousins. Mary is so moved by this vision of God, the lover of the lowly, that she breaks out in song.  This song has come to be known as “The Magnificat.”

 

Luke, the author of this gospel, loved the faith of these two women and wrote in such a way that their heroism is clear. He seemed to want to impress on the reader the cheerful humility of Elizabeth and Mary as they submit to their magnificent God. Elizabeth says (Luke 1:43), “But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” And Mary says (Luke 1:47-48), “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.”

 

Elizabeth and Mary acknowledged their lowly estate and submitted fully to God’s plans. In doing so, they magnified the glory of God. If each of us were as humble and willing, God could do amazing things through us, his servants.  

Prayer

Holy One, you call me to be better. You ask me to live in such a way that points to you. Forgive me for failing. Give me guidance and courage to be a light in the world. Show me those who need your mercy, compassion and justice, then lead in ways to serve them. Thank you for the gift of Jesus. I love you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.