The blog gives reflections on the Catholic daily bible readings
Reading 1, 1 Samuel 1:24-28
24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, as well as a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and took him into the temple of the Lord at Shiloh; the child was very young.
25 They sacrificed the bull and led the child to Eli.
26 She said, ‘If you please, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood beside you here, praying to the Lord.
27 This is the child for which I was praying, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.
28 Now I make him over to the Lord for the whole of his life. He is made over to the Lord.’ They then worshipped the Lord there.
Gospel, Luke 1:46-56
46 And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;
48 because he has looked upon the humiliation of his servant. Yes, from now onwards all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name,
50 and his faithful love extends age after age to those who fear him.
51 He has used the power of his arm, he has routed the arrogant of heart.
52 He has pulled down princes from their thrones and raised high the humble.
53 He has filled the starving with good things, sent the rich away empty.
54 He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his faithful love
55 -according to the promise he made to our ancestors — of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.
56 Mary stayed with her some three months and then went home.
Again today’s readings focus on two women. The first of these is Hannah, who had been childless, prayed for a child, and given birth to the boy Samuel, whom she subsequently dedicated to the service of the Sanctuary. Can we understand a gift so precious that it must be given back? The child was a gift of God but also her own and her husband’s child. She was now rich enough to make a real gift to God. Her poverty, faith and passion make her a splendid example of the “humble” whom God raises up.
In her song, Mary becomes Mother Israel, the slave of the Lord, taking to herself the stories and language of Israel’s mothers, noting God’s preference for the humble and hungry over the arrogant and rich.
There are many powerful, arrogant, rich people who think ‘God is on our side’. There are many powerful, arrogant, rich nations that think ‘ God is on our side’. We are utterly mistaken: in time God will rout us and pull us from our thrones, but meantime we can do a lot of harm to others. It would be better to hear Mary’s song and change our tune.