Dec. 22, 2016: Thursday, 4th Week of Advent A
Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Luke 1:46
If we were living in first-century Judea, many of the words from Mary’s song would sound very familiar to our ears. It would seem somewhat like a remake of an “oldie” from the Jewish tradition—the song of Hannah on becoming the mother of Samuel after years of barrenness. Hannah’s song begins:
My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in the Lord. (1 Samuel 2:1)
Both songs praise the Lord as Savior and acknowledge him as holy. Both go on to announce how the mighty and rich will be cast down, while the lowly and the poor will be raised up. Those who have their fill will come away empty, while the hungry will hunger no more. These parallels demonstrate that Mary views herself as standing in the tradition of women like Hannah whom God has raised up from their afflictions. Like Hannah, Mary has conceived a child through the miraculous intervention of God in her life.
Like Hannah, Mary will dedicate her Son in the temple (see Luke 2:22–24). Like Hannah, Mary responds with a song of praise and thanksgiving for the providential child she is given. Hannah’s song culminates with the announcement of the future coming of a king (see Samuel 2:10).
Mary’s song, on the other hand, rejoices in the fact that God has fulfilled the promise “he spoke to our fathers” of the long-awaited Messiah-King, whom she now carries in her womb.
If I had a song of praise like Hannah and Mary did, for what would I thank the Lord?
Lord, I make Mary’s and Hannah’s songs my own. I, too, praise and thank you for the blessings you have bestowed upon my life.
-Edward Sri, "The Advent of Christ"