Readings for today: Micah 5:1-4a, Psalm 80:2-3,15-16,18-19, Hebrews 10:5-10, Luke 1:39-45.
Fulfill your will in me, Lord. Give me ears open to your word and a heart of obedience.
First Reading: Here, through Micah the prophet, we hear about the coming of the ruler of Israel. He comes from the lowly clan of Bethlehem, standing firm, shepherding his flock. His greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth, and he shall be peace.
Second Reading: The author of the letter to the Hebrews draws on the Septuagint translation of Psalm 40, placing it in the context of Jesus Christ. The Word of God had a body prepared for him (10:5, Psalm 40:6 (LXX)). The psalm continues, saying "As is written of me in the scroll, Behold, I come to do your will, O God" (Psalm 40:7-8 (LXX)). Luke writes that Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1-2) at the beginning of his ministry and said "Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing" (Luke 4:14-21). Jesus was to offer a life of obedience to the will of God to take the place of the constant sacrifices and holocausts of the priests in the temple (10:8-9). The bodily sacrifice of Jesus was the last offering, and the only sacrifice that could last eternally (10:10).
Gospel: Luke records Mary's visit to her cousin Elizabeth. Upon hearing Mary's voice, Elizabeth's child stirs in her womb and Elizabeth, filled with the Spirit, proclaims Mary's blessedness (1:41-42). Elizabeth calls Mary "the mother of my Lord" (1:43) -- the Mother of God. Elizabeth says that Mary is not only blessed because of who she is and who she carries in her womb, but also because Mary that what God told her would be fulfilled (1:45), which is aligned with Luke 11:27-28 where Jesus says that "blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it". He is not saying Mary is not blessed, or that her role as his mother is of no significance, but that it is because she listened to God and followed His commands for her that she is blessed, and in doing so she accepted her role as the mother of the Lord.