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The Promised Messiah
“He has cast the mighty from their thrones, and raises up the lowly” (Luke 1:52). This is one of the statements that appears in what is known as the Canticle of Mary at the beginning of Luke’s Gospel. She sings this powerful and beautiful prayer after she is greeted by her cousin, Elizabeth, when they are both pregnant, Elizabeth with John the Baptist, and Mary with Jesus, the promised Messiah. At the beginning of this holiest week of the Christian calendar, it is appropriate to harken back to the coming of Jesus into the world as a human infant. Mary’s affirmative response to the Father’s invitation given to her by the Angel Gabriel, opened the door long locked door to salvation history. Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God, took flesh in Mary’s womb. And it is during this Holy Week that we remember and witness again, the culmination of Jesus’ mission, his suffering, his death, and his resurrection. All of this done out of a Divine Love so great that it overwhelms all the heavy weight of sin and death, forever. No other human being could understood the meaning of this conception more than Mary. She knows who this child is. She becomes, in a sense, the first prophet of the New Testament when she sings her canticle. Inspired and filled as she was with the Holy Spirit, she tells us what this child’s life will mean for the world, for those who have been lost and oppressed by the manifold variety and weight of human sin. She predicts the purpose of Jesus’ coming into the world. He will turn human wisdom on its head. Because of him the first shall be last and the last shall be fist. The mighty, those who have lorded it…