Advent 2015

Fourth Monday in Advent - December 21st

Songs 2: 8-14 / Ps 33: 2-3, 11-12, 20-21 / Lk 1: 39-45

What grand readings these are! They give one a new appreciation of the Apostle Luke and a delicious insight into the craft of our Liturgists. What seems, at first glance, a mismatch of the “Song of Songs” with a narrative of a Visit of two sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, connected by a Responsorial Psalm that reads like a rowdy string ensemble performance with a noisy celebratory audience, becomes, with some study, an epic marriage of Old Testament and New.

The meeting of Mary and Elizabeth was the occasion of the conception of another “song”, the Magnificat. While not included in this reading, it does follow in Luke 1:46-45, the passage immediately following the one in today’s reading. It is as though the “Song of Songs” was the inspiration for Mary’s magnificent hymn of praise. This subtle connection of the two songs, one in the First Reading and the other implied in the Second Reading, is a sort of liturgical teasing that the Liturgist suggests so that we may experience, through study, the poetic congruence of the scriptures.

This meeting of Mary and Elizabeth is another opportunity to connect the Arc of the Covenant, the residence of the bond between God and His people, with Mary the de facto Arc of the New Covenant and the soon to be mother of Jesus.

John Dunphy
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