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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, the Gospel presents for our consideration the Magnificat Canticle, which Mary, filled with joy, sang in the house of her relative Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist. Mary's words bring to mind other biblical songs that she knew well and had recited and contemplated on many occasions. But now, on her lips, those same words take on a much deeper meaning: the spirit of the Mother of God shines through them, showing us the purity of her heart. Every day, the Church adopts them in the Liturgy of the Hours when, praying Vespers, it directs towards heaven that same song with which Mary rejoiced, blessed, and thanked God for all His goodness.

Mary is the beneficiary of the most extraordinary Grace any woman has ever received or will ever receive: she has been chosen by God, among all the women in history, to be the Mother of the Messiah Redeemer whom Humanity had been awaiting for centuries. It is the highest honor ever granted to a human person, and she receives it with complete simplicity and humility, realizing that everything is Grace, a gift, and that she is nothing before the immensity of the power and greatness of God, who has done great things for her (cf. Lk 1:49). A great lesson in humility for all of us, children of Adam, and heirs of a human nature deeply marked by that Original Sin, whose consequences we carry day after day.

We are now reaching the end of the season of Advent, a time of conversion and purification. Today it is Mary who teaches us the best way. Meditating on the prayer of our Mother —wanting to make it our own— will help us to be more humble. Holy 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...” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 2097)