Jesus Indwells His Mother

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the child leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting touched my ears, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”   Luke 1:41-45    

Along with drawing on the tradition of 2 Samuel, Luke also draws on the tradition of Chronicles. He now introduces us to a highly significant expression once connected with the Ark. This expression is found in verse 42, when Elizabeth “exclaimed” at Mary’s arrival. The expression seems ordinary enough, but it is rarely used in the Bible. Actually, this is the only place it’s found in the New Testament. In the Greek Old Testament, it only appears 5 times. You might think, “So! What’s the big deal about that?” Well, every-time that expression is used in the Greek O.T., it forms part of the stories surrounding the Ark of the Covenant. In particular, it refers to the chanting, singing and music made by the Levitical singers and musicians when they glorified the Lord in song, as David carried it in procession to Jerusalem (I Chron. 15:28, 16:4-5). It is also used as Solomon transferred the Ark to it’s final resting place in the Temple.

Now, let’s look at what Elizabeth actually said.

Blessed are you recalls words spoken long ago to Jael and Judith in the O.T. [Judg. 5:24-27, Jud. 13:18] they were blessed for their heroic faith and courage in warding off enemy armies hostile to Israel. Both these ladies assured Israel’s victory by assassinating the opposing military commander with mortal blows to the head. Mary follows in their footsteps. In her case though, the victory won and the enemy destroyed are much greater! She will bear the Savior who crushes the head of the serpent, sin and death underfoot!  [Gen. 3:15, I John 3:8].

Now,  the mother of my Lord title reveals the twin mysteries of Jesus’ divinity and Mary’s divine maternity (CCC 449, 495). Note that all occurrences of the word “Lord” in this context, as well as in the surrounding context, refer to God [v. 28, 32, 38, 46, 58, 68]. Mary’s divine motherhood was the first Marian doctrine set forth at the Council of Ephesus. She was given the title, Theotokos– bearer of God, to show that Jesus had one nature that was fully human and fully divine! This is where the phrase, “Mother of God” comes from, right here in sacred scripture. Jesus being fully God and fully man is born of a woman (Gal. 4:4) who gives birth to the Divine Son.

As stated last time, these definitions of Mary do not imply that she is divine, only that her Son is. And as God found her worthy to be the mother of His only begotten Son, may we find in our hearts a place for honoring her, too.

Next: The Magnificat.

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