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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
December 20, 2003

And Mary said,

I'm bursting with God-news;
     I'm dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened -
     I'm the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
     the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
     on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
     scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
     pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
     the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
     he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It's exactly what he promised,
     beginning with Abraham and right up to now.

Luke 1:46-55 (Message*)

This is what fairly burst out of Mary, according to Luke, when she visited her cousin Elizabeth, pregnant with John the Baptist, after Elizabeth exclaimed at the honor of the mother of her Lord visiting her. Scholars may doubt that these are the actual words of Mary, but they do present a powerful message that is clearly part of the Gospel. It also echoes passages in the Old Testament, pointing to the fulfillment of God's promises.

Mary's song highlights the tremendous significance of the birth of the son of God as a human to a humble woman. The Christian message is not only one of personal salvation, but also of what Catholics call "God's preferential option for the poor." From the standpoint of social and political power, the message is incendiary. God shows his mercy and love for the poor and oppressed, and gives the back of His hand to the high and mighty.

The Bible repeatedly states that the Gospel is "good news to the poor." As people who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ, do we identify with the poor and oppressed, the homeless and those stigmatized by society? Do we seek to be part of creating a social order that is compassionate and generous with those who have traditionally been at the bottom of the heap? Do we respond to Christ calling us out of our comfort zones to be part of His blessing of the humble and downtrodden?

Bill Samuel

* The Message version ©2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

©2003 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 27-Dec-2003 20:07:59 EST