Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Lectionary # 198. Choice of either Song of Songs 2:18-24.
Zephaniah 3:14-18. Psalm 33:2-3,11-12,20-21. Luke 1:39-45:

Since Mary becomes a guiding light for us during this last week before
Christmas, the selection from Zephaniah is more appropriate for the reading
of the Gospel which features Mary and her cousin Elizabeth in the
visitation narrative. Besides the light of revelation in which we see Mary
as the Daughter of Zion, there is also the gift of joy in these readings on
this first day of winter. They bring us inner warmth. The passage from
the Gospel is like a diamond surrounded by the precious stones of the other
readings from the prophet and from the psalmist. There is the cry of joy
and the emotion one feels when there is this great gift of God's
blessedness upon someone--a sign of personal cooperation with God and
therefore the person is happy or blessed. Mary is that person who is joyful
and this is seen also in her cousin Elizabeth who recognizes her
blessedness and praises her faith in cooperating with the salvific plan of

Mary's haste is also another sign that she is hurrying to bring help and
joy in the announcement she will make. The meeting is sublime and totally
human in its expression of love between the two women who are graced by God
with a child within their bodies. Elizabeth's child stirs within her and
it seems the two children join in the joy of their mothers. The mother of
the messiah brings the good news to the mother of the precursor or herald
of the messiah. Both women are women of profound faith in the mysteries of
God's love which is always fruitful. "How is it that the mother of my Lord
should come to me?" These words of Elizabeth are revelatory and help us
see the tradition that will soon be proclaimed about Mary as the Mother of
God, the Theotokos or God-bearer. Even one hundred years before the
Council of Ephesus this title was used by several of the Church theologians
known as Fathers of the Church.

We Catholics call Mary our Blessed Mother. This is based on what Scripture
tells us in St. Luke in the passage we have as our liturgical reading from
a Gospel. We do well on these few days before Christmas to take some time
to read both the Infancy Narratives of Matthew and Luke in their first two
chapters. There is the historical and literary foundation for what we
celebrate on Christmas Day. We remember that the first part of the most
famous prayer after the Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary, is contained in
Luke's narrative. Millions of these prayers are said each day by the
faithful reciting the rosary or just saying a few Hail Mary's during the
day. We are called to share in these holy women of joy and blessedness as
we prepare for the birth of the Messiah. The mother of the Messiah is thus
the "cause of our joy." Amen.