Bearer of Good Tidings
On this 6th day of the Simbang Gabi, we reflect on the Canticle of Mary, prominently known as the Magnificat. It was the most joyous song ever recorded in the bible.
The very first thing we can easily notice in the Gospel today is that Mary sang the Magnificat, not during the Annunciation of an Angel that she was chosen to be the Mother of God. That Good News could have been enough for Mary to break into great joy!
Mary ‘the Mother of God’ means that in the order of grace, she would be elevated to a spiritual height no other human creature can achieve. In the annunciation of Gabriel, she was confronted with a sublime truth that God has poured into her soul the ‘fullness of grace’ that can be given possibly to man. But in the face of this marvelous mystery and the singular privilege given to her by God, Mary could only say: ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’
It was only during the visitation, when Elizabeth, a woman like herself, reflected to her the great favor she received from God, that Mary, overwhelmed with great joy, broke into song. And she sang the Magnificat.
Today, this is the first thing we can learn from Mary: there is so much joy in sharing the Good News of our salvation to our brothers and sisters!
Driven by the joy of the Gospel and the deep desire to share it with others, Mary braved more than 100 miles—the distance from Nazareth to Hebron in Judah, just to bring the good tidings to her cousin Elizabeth. At that time, she herself was already pregnant with Jesus, but she went ‘in haste’. And the encounter occasioned the ‘bursting’ of an overwhelming joy strongly felt by Mary and Elizabeth, and even by the Baptist himself while he was still in the womb.
This joyful scenario leads us to the second lesson we can learn today: that the joy of the Gospel can only be felt by us if we ourselves bear Jesus Christ in our own hearts!
Mary evangelizes not only with gestures and words; she carries with her the person of Jesus and His Spirit and reaches out to others in the spirit of great love and service. And because she ‘conceives’ Jesus in her heart and carries Him in her womb, she powerfully radiates the joy of the Gospel to whomever she meets. And she herself felt that intensity when it was reflected to her by Elizabeth: ‘at the moment the sound of your greetings reached my ears, the child in my womb leaped for joy.’ This is the essence of evangelization! And Mary, the Model of evangelizers has shown us the way!
Finally, through her Magnificat, Mary has prepared our hearts to accept the true image of God which Christ Himself would reveal to us in its purity and perfect clarity, by giving us His Tangible Self on Christmas day.
Indeed, in the Magnificat, Mary declares that our God is the ‘Powerful and the Almighty God’! But He is also the ‘Most Merciful God of the poor’, who “knocks down the powerful from their throne” and leaves them weak so they may cease oppressing the helpless; while, “the humble He exalts” so that they may regain their dignity. The hungry “He will fill with goods gifts”, so they may enjoy a life more human and dignified.
This is the God whom we are waiting for on Christmas day! Born poor and weak in a manger, but powerful enough to restore the world to its original design willed by Father in all eternity.
This is the same good tidings that we must proclaim to the world in a voice loud and clear! And like Mary, we too must travel mountains and great distances ‘in haste’ to share this good news with the poor. Our bodies will be surely exhausted, but our hearts will be burning with unspeakable with joy!
Fray Mark Rochelle F. Renacia, OAR