The Canticle of Mary
OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:
A visiting priest in a small country church delivered a 30-minute sermon on “Gratitude.” At the conclusion of the sermon, he said, “And remember, however, small the gift, always be grateful to the Lord.”
Later, when it was time for the collection, an usher used the preacher’s hat to take up the love offering. When the hat came back to him, the preacher shook it carefully, but heard no sound. Then he turned it upside down. But nothing came out. It was empty!
Seeing this, every eye in the congregation watched to see if the preacher would practice what he had just preached. Whereupon, the clergy raised his hands to heaven, still holding the empty hat, and said, “”I thank Thee Lord that, at least, I got back my hat!”
The theme of the gospel reading is gratitude. This is expressed in the Blessed Mother’s hymn of praise, the Magnificat. “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior….”
We see here Mary’s spirit of gratitude for having been chosen the mother of Christ. We see here also her spirit of humility.
Being humble means accepting the truth. It doesn’t mean suppression of one’s personal attributes or an abject self-depreciation.
Humility is a virtue and a virtue must be built on truth or it’s no virtue at all. Thus in her Magnificat, Mary openly declared, “Henceforth all generations shall call me blessed?” Should I not speak of my good qualities and accomplishments? Yes, you may but do not brag or parade them which might be impossible for a politician to do. Let others speak of your attributes and good works.
I remember how a father taught his son the following analogy about humility: “Look at those rice stalks,” he said, “note that the ones having rich grains are bowed down while those that have small, almost empty grains are standing upright.”
As the Book of Sirach puts it: “The greater you are, the more humble you should behave, then you will find favor with the Lord,” (3:18). (Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD Bible Diary 2005)
Mary’s Magnificat is a prayer, a poem, a psalm, and a paean – rolled into one.
It is also a story. It tells of the God who exalts the humble, the God who is merciful. It is the story of the storyteller herself, for it recounts how a lowly maidservant was raised to the highest honor of being the Mother of God.
She is the most blessed of all. The Angel Gabriel said it. Elizabeth pronounced it. Now, Mary herself confirms it: “All generations will call me blessed.”
Why blessed? Because the Lord is with her, as Gabriel said. That is why the measure of grace is filled up to the brim. Mary wants nothing. She has Jesus. Jesus is more than enough.
No one knows Jesus as much as she does. And no one else is as close to Jesus as she is.
One wonders how many secret things she knew about Jesus. Certainly, she had a lot of these treasures. For she experienced the joy no one else knew – the joy of being with Jesus for the longest time.
Because of this singular joy, Mary must have recited the Magnificat throughout her life – in moments of solitude and prayer. Her lips must have uttered praises to God a million times over: “My soul magnifies the Lord, My spirit rejoices in God, my Savior.”
Perhaps, she even sang her Magnificat on the way to Calvary as she accompanied her Son. For the Magnificat is not only a song of praise uttered in a moment of deepest joy. It is also a canticle of faith expressed in a moment of deepest sorrow.
Even as she watched her Son suffer and die, Mary knew deep in her heart that God’s promise was being fulfilled.
That is the deeper meaning of her Magnificat. (Fr. Raymund I. Festin, SVD Bible Diary 2006)
“The Magnificat,” said Stanley Jones, “is the most revolutionary document in the world.”
First, Mary sings about a moral revolution in which God blesses the humble and lowly. Jesus said, “Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised!” (Matt 5:5). If man sets his life against that of Christ, he will be humbled, surely. Christ enables us to see ourselves for who we are: nothing! “Without me you can do nothing,” Christ tells us. Seeing ourselves in this light gives a death blow to our pride.
Second, Mary sings about social revolution in which God blesses the poor and the needy. Jesus said, “Blessed are you who are poor for the Kingdom of God is your,” (Luke 6:20).
Muretus was a wandering scholar in the Middle Ages. Sick from his travels, he was admitted to a hospital where doctors discussed in Latin, trying to make a, “guinea pig” out of him, a specimen for experimentation, he being a mere wanderer, yes, a stranger, hence, a dispensable, worthless victim.
In their own language, he answered them, “”Call no man worthless for whom Christ died.” Truly, in Christ there is no Gentile, slave or freeman. As He died for all, all are one in Him.
Finally, Mary sings about an Economic revolution in which God blesses the hungry and starving. Jesus said: “Blessed are you who are hungry, for you will be satisfied.” In a godless society, each man fends for himself, chacun por soi, as the French say, or kanya-kanya, as we say in Filipino language.
But for Christians, each one is his brother’s keeper. We are to love and serve one another. ‘For I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me drink, naked and you clothed me…”
Without doubt, “there is loveliness in the Magnificat,” notes William Barclay, “but in that loveliness there is dynamite.” It is indeed, the most revolutionary document in the world. (Fr. Fred Mislang, SVD Bible Diary 2007)
Do you sometimes feel like singing or humming a happy tune when you are overjoyed? That, multiplied many times, is how the Blessed Mother Mary must have felt when she offered her song to the Lord which has become one of the great hymns of the church – the “Magnificat.” The scene is the “Visitation,” the younger Mary visiting her elder cousin Elizabeth. Not only the two mothers but even baby John the Baptist are ecstatic with joy. Why? It is because of Jesus! Emmanuel – God with us! They all feel the joy-causing presence of God with them. God has visited them. This is why we are joyful in the Christmas season.
For Mother Mary, her joy was caused by another reason mentioned in her song. It is because God observed and noticed the lowly, and he did great things for them. It must have been incomprehensible to Mary that God would have noticed and chosen a humble common girl like her. And so she exalts God who favors, not only herself, but all the poor and the lowly that the world overlooks. Christmas is really good news first announced to the poor and the lowly.
In God’s world, no one is unimportant and useless; no one is so low and small that Jesus would not come into the world for Him. God’s design is inversely proportional to the usual social standards. The small is beautiful, those in the low places are high, the last are the first, and the hungry will be filled. The Magnificat is like Mary’s version of the Beatitudes. It is good news for those who are disadvantaged in the social race, but a warning for those who think of themselves as higher than heaven.
The secret to attaining joy is revealed here. Joy comes to those who seek the presence of God, those who trust God enough to surrender themselves to His will, those who are simple and humble in the desires of their hearts those who are “poor” and puts serving the poor and needy first before the self, and those who sing the praise of God in gratitude. (Fr. Emil Lim, SVD Bible Diary 2009)
PUSONG MAPAGPASALAMAT: Reflection for 7th Day of CHRISTMAS NOVENA / SIMBANG GABI – December 22, 2014 – YEAR OF THE POOR
Ano ba ang laman ng iyong panalangin sa tuwing ikaw ay magdarasal? Baka naman puro hingi ka lang at yun lang ang laman ng iyong panalangin? May kuwento ng isang taong laging nanghihingi sa kanyang panalangin.. Minsang napadaan siya sa isang simbahan at tumapat sa isang imahe ni Jesus na nakapako sa krus. “Panginoon, sana naman bigyan mo ako ng t-shirt na Calvin Klein, maong pants na LEVIS, sapatos na NIKE at relo na G-SHOCK! Laking gulat niya ng sumagot ang Panginoon, “Mahiya ka naman Juan… tingnan mo nga ako, bahag lang ang suot ko, ikaw kung makahingi… WAGAS!” hehehe… Baka naman kapag nagdasal tayo ang nasasambit natin ay “PENGE NOON… PENGE NOON…” sa halip na ” PANGINOON! PANGINOON! Hindi ba dapat ang unang lumalabas sa ating bibig ay pagpupuri at pasasalamat? Ang lakas nating humingi sa Diyos ngunit hina naman natin magpasalamat. Ang mga pagbasa natin sa ika-7 araw ng ating Nobena para sa Pasko ay mag tema ng PASASALAMAT. Nagpasalamat si Ana sa pagbibigay ni Yahweh sa kanya ng anak na si Samuel at bilang utang na loob ay inihandog niya si Samuel sa templo upang maglingkod. Sa Ebenghelyo naman ay punong-puno ng kagalakan na ipinahayag ni Maria ang kanyang pasasalamat sa Diyos sa kanyang MAGNIFICAT! “Ang puso ko’y nagpupuri sa Panginoon!… dahil sa mga dakilang bagay na ginawa sa akin ng Makapangyarihan!” Sa ating buhay ay napakadaling magpasalamat sa Diyos hangga’t mabuti ang mga kaganapan natin. Madaling magsabi ng “Praise the Lord!” kapag napromote ka sa trabaho, kapag nanalo ka sa lotto, kapag nakapasa ka sa board exam. Subukan mong mag praise the Lord kapag nasunugan ka ng bahay, kapag nalugi ka sa negosyo, kapag iniwan ka ng kasintahan mo… ang hirap di ba? Dapat natin pasalamatan ang Panginoon sa maraming biyayang ipinagkakaloob Niya sa atin. Dapat natin siyang pasalamatn sa mga maganda at maging sa mga di-kaaya-ayang pnagyayari sa ating buhay. Una sa lahat sa regalo ng BUHAY na patuloy niyang ipinagkakaloob sa atin. Pangalawa ay sa biyaya ng PAMILYA na mayroon tayo. Hindi man perpekto ang ating pamilya subalit ito ang “the best” na ibinigay niya para sa atin. At pangatlo ay dapat rin natin siyang pasalamatan sa biyaya ng KALIKASAN na patuloy na umiiral at bumubuhay sa atin! Ngunit tandaan natin na ang pasasalamat ay mayrooon dapat na kaukulang pagbibigay. Sa ingles ito ay THANKS-GIVING! Hindi lang thanks kundi may GIVING na dapat mangyayari. Ang tunay na pasasalamat ay may kaukulang pagbibigay at ang pagbibigay ay dapat may kasamag SAKRIPISYO sapagkat may bahagi sa atin na nawawala kapag tayo ay naghahandog. Kapag nagsabi ka ng THANKS sa mga magulang mo ay dapat may kasama itong pagsunod, paggalang at pagmamahal sa iyong mga magulang. Kapag nagsabi ka ng thanks sa mga teachers mo ay may kasama dapat itong pagsisikap na mag-aaral ka at hindi magpapabaya sa iyong pag-aaral. Kapag nagsabi ka ng thanks sa asawa mo ay may kasama itong pagbibigay ng katapatan sa kanya at pag-aaruga sa iyong pamilya. Huwag sana nating sabihin para sa mga may kaya lang ang pagbibigay. Sabi nga ni Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta : “If you cannot feed one hundred people then feed at least one!” Ibig sabihin ay walang taong masyadong mahirap para magkaloob ng tulong sa iba. Tadaan natin na sa pagtulong ang prinsipyo ay :”Kung gusto mo may paraan, kung ayaw mo may dahilan!” Kung matututo lamang tayong magbigay mababawasan ang mga makasarili sa ating mundo at magkakaroon ang bawat isa sa atin ng PUSONG MARUNONG MAGPASALAMAT! Ipinaskil ni kalakbay ng kabataan
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