Late Advent Weekday — December 22
I Samuel 1:24-28 + Luke 1:46-56
“From this day all generations will call me blessed ….”
Yesterday’s Gospel Reading introduced the narrative of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth. In that passage the evangelist records only the words of Elizabeth speaking. But today’s Gospel Reading consists almost entirely of Mary proclaiming a hymn of praise to God. Every evening in the Divine Office the Church prays this hymn. This hymn’s title is “Magnificat”, which is simply the first word of the hymn in Latin.
One way to reflect upon this hymn is to compare it to today’s Responsorial Psalm. This comparison could be made verse-by-verse. Another means of comparison would be to consider the narrative setting of each. Consider the latter means.
Today’s Responsorial Psalm does not come from the Book of Psalms but from the second chapter of the First Book of Samuel. The childless Hannah had prayed to the Lord for a son, promising: “I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life” [I Samuel 1:11]. After Samuel is born, Hannah fulfills her promise by leaving the child at the house of the Lord in Shiloh. There Hannah offers a hymn of praise to God, from which today’s Responsorial Psalm is taken.
The narrative setting of today’s Responsorial Psalm gives us an example from the Old Testament of what the Blessed Virgin Mary lives out throughout Jesus’ life. In turn, God calls each Christian to imitate this example of Mary: not only praising God for His blessings, but more importantly, returning to the Lord His blessings, and in so doing, becoming instruments of His will so that His blessings might be multiplied for the glory of God and the good of others.