Today's gospel presents a beautiful hymn of praise known as the Magnificat. What I find most amazing about the Magnificat, more than the beauty of its words, is the unimaginable set of circumstances that Mary faces while she prays it. Before this passage in the Gospel of Luke, Mary has been told by the Angel Gabriel that she, although unmarried and a virgin, is going to bear a child proclaimed to be the Son of God. In the Church today, we honor and revere Mary as the theotokos, or “God-bearer”- the Mother of God. However, in Mary's time, she would almost certainly have been labelled an adulteress and a lunatic by her society. Even so, Mary gives thanks to God for the “great things” He has done for her. Mary not only takes time to recognize the good that God has granted her; she also selflessly helps her older cousin Elizabeth to prepare for the birth of her own child, John the Baptist.
Mary was indeed the theotokos to her cousin, bringing to her both the Christ in her womb and the Christ in her heart as she served her cousin and provided for her needs. Mary looked beyond her own immense struggles to recognize the needs of another and tend to them. Each of us faces our own struggles, but I pray that this Advent, we may each thank God for all the “great things” that He has freely granted us. I pray that giving thanks for what we have may help us to recognize that many people in this world lack basic necessities. May each of us, like Mary, be a “theotokos” to our brothers and sisters on the margins of society – most especially those people experiencing hunger or homelessness - by working for justice throughout this Advent season, this year, and our entire lives.
College of Nursing, Class of 2016
Advent comes from the Latin word, adventus – an arrival or a coming. In the context of the season, Advent means that the Lord is coming. Read more of the Advent introduction...
First Week of Advent
Second Week of Advent
Third Week of Advent
Fourth Week of Advent