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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Weekdays of Advent: December 22nd

1st Reading (1Sam 1:24-28): In those days, Hannah brought Samuel with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and presented him at the temple of the Lord in Shiloh. After the boy's father had sacrificed the young bull, Hannah, his mother, approached Eli and said: «Pardon, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood near you here, praying to the Lord. I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted my request. Now I, in turn, give him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the Lord». She left Samuel there.
Responsorial Psalm: 1Sam 2
R/. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
«My heart exults in the Lord, my horn is exalted in my God. I have swallowed up my enemies; I rejoice in my victory».

«The bows of the mighty are broken, while the tottering girds on strength. The well-fed hire themselves out for bread, while the hungry batten on spoil. The barren wife bears seven sons, while the mother of many languishes».

«The Lord puts to death and gives life; he casts down to the nether world; he raises up again. The Lord makes poor and makes rich, he humbles, he also exalts».

My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior. «He raises the needy from the dust; from the dung heap he lifts up the poor, to seat them with nobles and make a glorious throne their heritage».
Versicle before the Gospel (---): Alleluia. O King of all nations and keystone of the Church: come and save man, whom you formed from the dust! Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 1:46-56): Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.”

Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home.

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior”

Fr. Francesc PERARNAU i Cañellas (Girona, Spain)

Today's Gospel presents for our consideration the Magnificat Canticle, with which the Virgin Mary, full of joy, greets Elizabeth, her relative, mother of John the Baptist, in her home. Mary's words remind us of other Biblical canticles and songs She knew quite well and had so often, recited and contemplated. Now. However, those very words, on her lips, have a much deeper meaning: behind them, God's Mother spirit shows through while also evincing the purity of her heart. Every day, at the Liturgy of the Hours, the Church makes these words hers when, with the Vespers, the Church addresses to Heaven the same song with which Mary rejoiced, blessed and thanked God for all His graciousness and sheer kindness.

Mary has benefited of the most extraordinary Grace any woman has ever received or will ever receive: amongst all other women in History, she has been chosen by God, to become the Mother of the Redeemer Messiah, whom Mankind had been awaiting for so many centuries. It is the highest honor ever granted any human person, and She accepts it with total restraint and humility, by realizing it all is Grace and a gift, and her own lowliness before the immensity of God's power and greatness, which has done wonders on Her (cf. Lk 1:49). This is a great lesson of humility for all of us, Adam's sons, and heirs of a human nature deeply stained by Original Sin, which, day after day, would try to drag us down.

We are getting close to the end of Advent, a time of conversion and purification. Today, it is the Virgin Mary who is showing us the best way. Mulling over our Mother's prayer —by wishing to make it ours— will help us to become more humble. Mother Mary will help us if we truly ask her.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “Mary said: ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord’. I offer then – She says- all the powers of my soul in praise and thanksgiving. As I contemplate his greatness, which knows no limits, I joyfully surrender my whole life, my senses, my judgement.” (Saint Bede the Venerable)

  • “At Elizabeth and Zechariha’s house, we listen to the "Magnificat", this great hymn coming from the lips, better said, from the Heart of Mary, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. ‘My soul magnifies the Lord’… Mary is great just because she didn’t want to make herself great.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “To adore God is to acknowledge, in respect and absolute submission, the "nothingness of the creature" who would not exist but for God. To adore God is to praise and exalt him and to humble oneself, as Mary did in the Magnificat, confessing with gratitude that he has done great things and holy is his name. The worship of the one God sets man free from turning in on himself, from the slavery of sin and the idolatry of the world.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 2097)