Today is a special festival in the life of the Church. It’s today that we celebrate Mary: the human mother of Jesus; the theotokos (“god-bearer”). We usually remember Mary as the teenage girl kneeling next to a bale of hay in a stable, but there’s much more to her story. In John she’s at the foot of the cross, and in Acts she’s hanging around praying for Christ’s return.
Anyway, just after Mary finds out she’s with child, she sings a tear-jerking song:
My soul proclaims your greatness, O God,
and my spirit rejoices in you, my Savior.
For you have looked with favor upon your lowly servant,
and from this day forward all generations will call me blessed.
For you, the Almighty, have done great things for me, and holy is your Name.
Your mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear you.
You have shown strength with your arm;
you have scattered the proud in their conceit;
you have deposed the mighty from their thrones
and have raised the lowly to high places.
You have filled the hungry with good things,
while you have sent the rich away empty.
You have come to the aid of Israel your servant,
mindful of your mercy – the promise you made to our ancestors –
to Sarah and Abraham and their descendants forever.
(Luke 1:46b-55, The Inclusive Bible)
The world didn’t look like that back then. And the world doesn’t look like that now. Every day, the proud succeed. The mighty reign with little concern for the lowly. The rich are well-fed and the hungry are sent away.
But even so, Mary believed that things would change. She believed that God would triumph. Because that’s how God works. That’s what the reign of God looks like: the lowly lifted up, the hungry fed, the poor cared for, the sick healed.
Mothering God: thank you for Mary, who taught us that you care for all those that the world seems to forget. Help us to join in Mary’s song of praise, and use us to be instruments of your justice. Amen.
Do you like the words of Mary’s song? Check out this awesome version of The Canticle of the Turning!