One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

December 22, 2008

For Advent on December 22

Luke 1:46-56

Today’s Gospel of the Lord is the Holy Gospel according to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Today she tells a Gospel of praise and rejoicing for the great things God the Mighty has done.
The celebration of the Lord’s Word, his Gospel, and of the Body and Blood of Christ— the Mass— is mankind’s greatest act of prayer and worship.
It is also God’s work of saving us.
Prayerful worship and divine salvation!
As the Second Vatican Council put it [Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10], this is the fount, the source, the wellspring, of all spiritual power; and this is the summit, the mountaintop, the high goal of all activity, all good works in the Church.
We need to aim our lives towards what we are doing here, and we need to take what happens here into our lives.
The one who spoke the Gospel today shows our lives what to aim for and what to carry.
The Gospel today comes from the voice of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the one human person who is all filled with grace.
Full-of-Grace, she, more than any other human person, and before any other human person, is overshadowed with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, and bears within her body and her soul both the human and divine life of the Word who is the Son of God.
Christ did not receive his own Body and Blood, he did not come to birth, without the Blessed Virgin Mary’s willingness.
Without her willingness, the world did not receive either Christ or the Holy Spirit.
Because she chose to become the mother of Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary is the mother of his Body, mother, therefore of his Church, which the Word of the Lord calls the Body of Christ.
The Blessed Virgin Mary is, therefore, also the mother of Pentecost, when by the power of the Holy Spirit the Church was born for the world to hear and see.
No Christian has ever received the grace-filled power of the Holy Spirit unless the Blessed Virgin Mary has prayed for that in the midst of the Apostolic Church.
The Word of the Lord tells it in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles.
As the apostles waited to be baptized with the Holy Spirit [Acts 1:5], they held fast with one mind in prayer together with the Blessed Virgin Mary the mother of Jesus [Acts 1:14].
On Pentecost, the first public, Spirit-powered fruit of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s prayer in the midst of the single-minded Apostolic Church was the telling of God’s mighty deeds in the tongues of many nations.
The telling of God’s mighty deeds by someone empowered by the Holy Spirit— Pentecost was not the first time!
The first time was today’s Gospel according to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior,
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
... the Almighty has done great things for me....

On Pentecost, we can be sure the tongues of the apostles echoed today’s Gospel according to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
... the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm...
... and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things....
He has come to the help of his servant...
he remembered his promise of mercy....

This Marian and Apostolic Gospel about God’s mighty deeds is also a song of royal victory in battle against the proud and mighty thrones of many nations.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones....

Finally, this is also a song of pregnancy from the Blessed Virgin Mary who was newly “the mother of my Lord” [Luke 1:43].
She bears within her the New and Everlasting Covenant.
We owe her our mindful thankfulness for her saying “Yes” in Nazareth to the angelic message from God.
We need to have the Blessed Virgin Mary praying for us with the Apostles, that we, too, may be overshadowed with the Holy Spirit of Power, and that we, too, may be filled body and soul with the life and sonship of God in Christ, so that we, too, with the Blessed Virgin Mary, may worship God rightly, and help the nations find salvation and joy.

That God Be Glorified in All