Sat, 15 December 2007
In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sends the mighty Archangel Gabriel to Mary, announcing that this "virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David," will conceive and bear a son, Jesus (LK 1:26-28). He specifically chooses this Holy Virgin for an absolutely amazing vocation: to be the mother of the Messiah, the instrument through whom the infinite God becomes incarnate.
Great will be his dignity and he will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. He will rule over the house of Jacob forever and his reign will be without end. (32-33)
In this child, the Messianic Kingdom of David will emerge as "the stone [...] hewn from the mountain without a hand" that shatters all the kingdoms of this world forever and rules for eternity (Daniel). According to the tradition of the historic Davidic court, the Queen mother holds a prominence in the King's life. This is all the more true of relationship between Jesus and Mary.
The study then shifts to how God has provided a safe place for the virgin to spend her pregnancy, for her parents and neighbors would have thought Mary was crazy or might even have handed her over to be stoned according to the Law. Moreover, because God makes Mary's pregnancy known to Elizabeth, Mary does not have to convince her cousin that she is to pregnant with the Savior.
Analyzing the Magnificat reveals that this simple, tender-hearted young woman possessed a deeply intimate knowledge of Scripture (Lk 46-55).Her Canticle is a wonderful bouquet of many Psalms and the writings of the Prophets which mirrors the Canticle of Hannah in 1 Samuel. The implications of Mary's prayer are truly astounding, as is the connection between Samuel and John/Jesus. The Canticle of Zechariah is similarly profound and Luke purposefully includes this prophecy from the once-mute father of John that alludes to Malachi.
The study concludes with a look at the preparatory nature of God, who not only profoundly prepares the way for his Son, but also opens the doors of our hearts and is even now preparing us to be a people transformed according to his divine plan – if we but let him in.