“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. 52-53
Mary’s song, the Magnificat, has long been a favorite for Christians, particularly at this time of year. When the vocalist is skilled, the tune lifts our hearts, and we’re entranced by its beauty. What we miss though is that the song is about revolution, the total transformation of society, and the reversal of our whole economic system. And that may be why Mary has such amazing popular appeal in the poorest nations of the world. Every year peasants and people on the lower rungs of the social ladder flock to give her praise and adoration on her special feast days. In her words they hear hope for their futures, that one day in the Christ, the poor will be lifted up and the hungry filled with good things. This isn’t a song designed to warm the hearts of power-brokers and hedge fund managers. Luke uses her words to prepare the way for the Jesus of his gospel, the one who dined with sinners, loved the poor, and had harsh words for the rich. And now as we draw near to Christmas, which has become the symbol of lavish spending and gift giving, it might just remind us that our Lord isn’t nearly so pleased with our riches as we are. And the wealth we count as our blessing might indeed be considered our curse!
Thought for the Day: When could my wealth become a curse?