UNBORN WORD of the day


GOD MOST HIGH – we most lowly
June 10, 2007, 10:11 pm
Filed under: The Incarnation

The first reading in yesterday’s Sunday Mass for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, spoke about the ancient priest Melchizedek making a sacrifice of bread and wine (Gen 14:18-20). This sacrifice prefigured the offering of Jesus during the Last Supper. In this short reading of three verses, a term appears three times which is a very instructive term: “God Most High”. But Melchizedek’s sacrifice, while prophetic, was incomplete and awaited the Body of God’s Son.

Now fast forward to the Annunciation/Incarnation. Gabriel explains to Mary that her son “will be called the Son of the Most High” (Lk 1:32) and that “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you (Lk 1:35). In a way, the credibility and authenticity of the message delivered to Mary is intensified by this majestic reference to God as “the Most High”. And the hint of “priesthood”, in the line of Melchizedek, has now been established. She then conceives miraculously the “Son of the Most High”.

A short time afterwards –maybe a week or so later – when she enters Elizabeth’s home and greets her, she utters her famous Magnificat (Lk 1:46-55). Twice during this prayer song she speaks of her lowliness and the lowliness of those who find favor with God: “…for He has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden” and “exalted those of low degree…”

So here we have it then, the matter-of-fact contrast, in terms of spiritual stature (‘height’ or ‘distance’): God Most High and Mary of low estate. Yet it is this humility in Mary which God “regards” with favor (Lk 1:30) and He exalts her above others and instructs us to exalt her as well: “For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed…” But why do we call her blessed? “…for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

The “great things” God had done for Mary at that point in her life, were primarily the same “great things” which He had also done for us, that is, the Incarnation – Christ Unborn within her, within His mother. These were incomparable things, things which cause awe and wonder in the Christian heart. And by virtue of these “great things”, we too have a share in Mary’s blessedness.


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