22ND DECEMBER 2021
A SONG OF REVOLUTION
1 Sam 1: 24‐28; 1 Sam 2: 1, 4‐5, 6‐7, 8abcd; Luke 1: 46‐56
Today’s First Reading and Responsorial are taken from the story of the prophet Samuel. Samuel’s mother, Hannah, was an old woman (like Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin). She desired to have a son. She promised that if she gave birth to a child, she would dedicate the boy to the Lord. In the First Reading, after giving birth to Samuel and weaning him, she takes him to the place of worship (Shiloh, since Jerusalem had not yet been conquered by the Israelites) and presents him to the service of God. After she does this, she prays a beautiful prayer to God which speaks about what the Lord has done for God’s people. This prayer is the Responsorial for today. The prayer of Mary in today’s Gospel pericope parallels the prayer of Hannah in today’s Responsorial. This prayer of Mary has been called the Magnificat from the first word in the Latin version of prayer. Magnificat is translated as “Magnifies” or “proclaims the greatness.” It is a prayer which praises God for all the great things God has done for the People of God, especially as seen in Mary’s own life. It speaks of three of the revolutions of God.
1. Moral Revolution
He scatters the proud in the plans of their hearts. That is a moral revolution. Christianity is the death of pride. Why? Because if a man sets his life beside that of Christ it tears the last vestiges of pride from him.
Sometimes something happens to a man which with a vivid, revealing light shames him. There is a short story about a boy who was brought up in a village. In school he used to sit beside a girl and they were fond of each other. He went to the city and fell into evil ways. He became a pickpocketer and a petty thief. One day he snatched an old lady's purse. It was clever work and he was pleased. And then he saw coming down the street the girl whom he used to know, still sweet with the radiance of innocence. Suddenly he saw himself for the cheap, vile thing he really was. Burning with shame, he leaned his head against the cool iron of a lamp standard. "God," he said, "I wish I could die." He saw himself. Christ enables a man to see himself. It is the deathblow to pride. The moral revolution has begun.
2. Social Revolution
He casts down the mighty‐‐he exalts the humble. That is a social revolution. Christianity puts an end to the world's labels and prestige.
Muretus was a wandering scholar of the Middle Ages. He was poor. In an Italian town he took ill and was taken to a hospital for waifs and strays. The doctors were discussing his case in Latin, never dreaming he could understand. They suggested that since he was such a worthless wanderer, they might use him for medical experiments. He looked up and answered them in their own learned tongue, "Call no man worthless for whom Christ died!"
When we have realized what Christ did for all men, it is no longer possible to speak about a common man. The social grades are gone.
3. Economic Revolution
He has filled those who are hungry ... those who are rich he has sent empty away. That is an economic revolution. A non Christian society is an acquisitive society where each man is out to amass as much as he can get. A Christian society is a society where no man dares to have too much while others have too little, where every man must get only to give away.
There is loveliness in the Magnificat but in that loveliness there is dynamite. Christianity begets a revolution in each man and revolution in the world.