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.” vss. 52-53Luke 1:52-53
The text of the Magnificat comes from Luke 1 and is the song sung by Mary when she was greeted by Elizabeth after being told by the angel that she was to bear a son. It’s regularly sung in churches all over the world during the Advent season as a part of the liturgy. People love to hear it sung as a solo–the melody is beautiful and quite naturally lifts our spirits. The lyrics however can be challenging for those living in lands where hunger and homelessness are on the increase, and where the rich and the powerful occupy the positions of power. Mary is convinced that the birth of her son will be the great reversal, that the lowly will be lifted up and the rich will be sent away empty. That’s what the poor have always expected from Jesus, and that’s why they were among the first to proclaim their faith in the Risen Christ. That expectation has gone for centuries without being fulfilled–there is incredible power connected with wealth, and the whole system favors the rich. What’s ironic is that the wealthy love the Magnificat too, and have somehow been able to ignore its obvious message. But the poor continue to hope–it just might be that one day Mary’s vision will become a reality!
Thought for the Day: When will the fortunes of the rich and poor be reversed?