Bem-aventurados os mansos, porque eles herdarão a terra; Bem-aventurados os que têm fome e sede de justiça, porque eles serão fartos; Bem-aventurados os misericordiosos, porque eles alcançarão misericórdia; Bem-aventurados os limpos de coração, porque eles verão a Deus; Bem-aventurados os pacificadores, porque eles serão chamados filhos de Deus; Bem-aventurados os que sofrem perseguição por causa da justiça, porque deles é o reino dos céus; Bem-aventurados sois vós, quando vos injuriarem e perseguirem e, mentindo, disserem todo o mal contra vós por minha causa.(Mt.5)

domingo, 24 de dezembro de 2023

We are at the door of the Lord's Christmas, and today the liturgy places


We are at the door of the Lord's Christmas, and today the liturgy places us alongside the Virgin Mother in the contemplation of the Blessed Son who is coming. Mary, “the Mother of my Lord”, is seen not only by the affection of those who love God, but also, in a special way, by those who have the responsibility for transmitting the theological truth of the divine mystery among us. It is extremely important to go between the lines of the Scriptures in search of greater clarity regarding God's Revelation to us. In today's liturgy, in a special way, the Virgin Mary is the “place” of contemplation of the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, the Little One made gigantic by the Grace of God, the blessed gaze that directs us to the beloved son, Jesus Christ, Immanuel , God with us.

After talking to the Angel Gabriel, Maria hurriedly went to meet her cousin Isabel. She did not doubt the archangel's words. Her trip to her cousin's house shows, first of all, her availability, her interest in taking care of a pregnant lady, as Isabel was of advanced age. She certainly had what was said to her by the Angel Gabriel in Mary's head, but it was not her intention to want to know if the Angel had really got what she said right. That would be doubting God. Mary has no doubt about the word spoken to her, so much so that she placed herself absolutely at the Lord's disposal: "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word." Mary appears much more as the Servant of the Lord.

In addition to a factual observation, Luke presents an important biblical hermeneutic. The text reveals a profound theology, what he and the Church experienced after the resurrection of Jesus. Mary's going to meet Elizabeth is a sign of the meeting between the New and Old Covenant. Mary's greeting solemnly proclaimed the arrival of the expected Messiah, “the Prince of peace” (Is 9:5), the presence of “abundant peace” (Ps 71:7), the peace necessary for the construction of a new world. Mary, then, is the bringer of peace. Elizabeth calls Mary “Blessed among women.” Jael and Judith also received this type of greeting (Jz 5,24 and Jt 13,23), two fragile women, but who, by God's grace, won. Now, applying this greeting to Mary, Luke is trying to affirm that she is the fragile and poor instrument through which God performs His wonders, giving the world the Savior. Furthermore, Elizabeth represents the Old Testament; Mary the New. That one is sterile, This one is fertile.

Mary is blessed, first of all, for having been thought of, prepared and chosen by God; also for being all focused on her Lord; and, also, because of the Blessed One, graced by Him, in order to be His Mother. By the will of the Father, Mary was created as a tabernacle, not made by human hands, but according to God's will. The ark was created to transport the Law of God, and therefore it was a reason for reverence, joy and celebration. In it, the people understood that the Lord was there. Before her, David exclaims: “How will the Ark of the Lord come to stay in my house?” (2Sm 6,9). The Ark spent three months in a Jewish residence, after being received with much celebration: dancing, joyful shouts and festive songs, because there was the presence of the Lord and this was a blessing for the entire welcoming family (2 Sam 6,10- 11). It is possible to see the connection established by Luke between these texts and Mary's encounter with Elizabeth, which provokes an exultant reaction in both Elizabeth and her son, who “jumps for joy” (cf. Is 54:1) in her womb . Mary's presence is a sign of God's presence, Mary as the new exclusive ARK of God, who presents herself as the fulfillment of the messianic promises and, finally, as heaven on earth.

Mary was thought of by God as the Kecharitomene, graced in the full sense, to be the mother of saving Grace. Elizabeth does not “see” her cousin Mary, but the Mother of the Lord. That moment expresses solely the action of God's grace, the presence of the Spirit and, therefore, the manifestation of faith. The enchantment shown by Elizabeth reveals what is expected of the ancient people of God, but also the enchantment of the entire Church by the mystery of God in the life of Mary, who was made enchanted by God. Mary's entire being expresses this truth. Mary is the authentic sign of the New and Eternal Covenant. Her presence caused a real transformation in Elizabeth's reality, who, upon hearing Mary's greeting and her son sensing the Savior, was "filled with the Holy Spirit". Mary, full of the Spirit, bearer of the Eternal, grants Elizabeth and what was in her womb the grace to perceive the great news, the promised one, the Messiah, already present in history, there in the womb of the Virgin. At the meeting of the women (the two Alliances), there is a meeting of two children, the Blessed One, the Savior, and his precursor, "the voice of one crying in the desert", the one who, at that moment, represents the entire people of Israel. The child in Isabel's womb rejoices in feeling the presence of what is expected and, there, receives the Strength of the Almighty to carry out his great prophetic mission, that of being the ultimate.

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