The Bible: The Power of Rebirth

Mary Visits Elizabeth

Reflection on the Gospel of the The Nineteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time

Luke 1:39-56

 

In today’s Gospel, Luke’s literary art displays lovely encounter between two strong women. Here he brings characters from the two annunciation accounts together. There is no significant action (Mary goes and returns), only dialogue, but the result is a sense of amplitude in a narrative otherwise episodic. 

This passage is dominated by the song of Mary. In the Magnificat, Mary’s praise for what God had done to her personally widens out to include what God does for “all who fear him” in every age, including what God is doing for Israel by the birth of its Messiah. As God “showed power in his right hand” by his mighty works in the past, so does he now “take Israel by the hand.” The song moves in stages from the reversal of Mary’s condition from lowliness to exaltation (1:46–49), then to a general statement of God’s mercy to those who fear him (1:50), then to a recital of his past and present reversals (1:51–53), finally to the statement of how that mercy is now being shown to Israel in fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham (1:54–55).

We notice the attributes of God in the song are attributes of the son she is carrying. God is called “Lord” and “Saviour” and “Holy.” So Jesus has already been called “holy” (1:34), and “lord” (1:43), and will shortly be termed “saviour” as well (2:11). 

The Lord is always faithful no matter what our background may be. Mary was exalted as the Queen of Heaven after living her life of humility instead of entitlement. A deep relationship with God that permeated through everything that she said and did. We are called to be like Christ and Mama Mary is the perfect mould. Through the intercession of Mama Mary we can be moulded like Christ.

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