The scheduled reading for today is Luke 1:39-45. At first glance it may seem like this is a transition passage between the big announcement to Mary that she would conceive, even though she is a virgin (Luke 1:26-38) and Mary’s famous song (the “Magnificat” in Luke 1:46-56). That’s what I thought when I first opened to the passage and wondered what I could possibly get out of this reading.
Then verse 45 jumped out and grabbed me. Elizabeth, a wise old woman who has just become miraculously pregnant in her later years, looks at the young Mary and says, “blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
This is the key verse of the chapter (at least to me, for today). Why? Because, I think the implied next line from Elizabeth was, “…unlike my thick-headed husband who did NOT believe what was spoken to him and now he can’t say a single word. Like it wasn’t hard enough to have a conversation with him before!”
Read Luke 1:5-25. In that scene, one of the holiest and most important men in Israel–a priest who was allowed into the holy place of the temple–received a message from God and did NOT believe right away. He pushed back and was skeptical.
Then, when a young, unassuming, common, village girl receives an outlandish promise from the same messenger, she responds, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”
He doubted and was shut up. The powerful man who was supposed to be the spiritual leader of Israel had nothing to say.
She believed and her mouth was opened. Some of the most famous and powerful words ever spoken flow from Mary’s mouth. She proclaims that,
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty. (Luke 1:50-53)
So, the key verse for today, and a theme for the whole story of Luke is that SHE, not HE is the one who hears, believes, and proclaims the Gospel and Promise of God.
The Gospel of Jesus is the great equalizer and bringer of justice and peace to the earth. And it all started with his Mom.
Blessed is she.