14. MAGNIFICAT Treasured in the heart

Created: Monday, 24 June 2013 Last Updated: Saturday, 31 August 2013

14. MAGNIFICAT
Treasured in the heart


1. When the evangels collect Jesus´ origins, what they at the end say is what Mary was keeping in his heart (Lk 2, 19). They gather it like good news, as history that manifests God´s action. They invite us to proclaim the greatness of the Lord with Mary’s words (1, 46). Luke “has diligently investigated all from its origins” (1, 3). With no doubt, Mathew too. Like Mark and John, Paul is very restrained to this respect: he warns Timothy before “fables and unending genealogies” (1 Tm 1, 4; see 2 P 1, 16 – 19) and he presents Jesus as “born of woman” (Ga 4, 4), from “David’s descent” (Rm 1, 3). But, what do the evangels say?

2.- In a global way, evangels show in the genealogies Jesus´ human roots (see Mt 1, 1-17; Lk 3, 23-38). Mathew, who writes for Christians coming from the Judaism, presents Jesus deeply enrooted un Israel’s history. He follows the line of the dynastic and legal succession. Jesus is the true heir of God´ s promises in whom Scriptures are accomplished. Luke, who writes for Christians with Greek mentality presents Jesus deeply connected with the history of humanity. He follows the line of natural descent. Jesus is the hope of the world.
3.The evangels say that Jesus was not,as people supposed, son of Joseph. This meant a problem for the incipient couple: “Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they came together as husband and wife, she become pregnant through the Holy Spirit  Joseph, who was an upright man, did not want to denounce her (see Dt 22,20) and he made plans to divorce her in secrecy. He had decided so, when an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said: “Joseph, David´ s descendant, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what she has conceived comes from the Holy Spirit”. (see Mt 1, 18 – 20)
4.  Jesus´ conception had been announced. The messenger is, like with John (Lk 1,19), Gabriel, that means: God is powerful. Sent by God, the messenger greets Mary with the words with which the prophets address Jerusalem, when they see her messianic future: “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you, you are blessed among the women”. (Lk 1, 28; see Zeph 3, 14-17; Jl, 21; Zach 9,9; Ps 139). Mary enjoys God’s favour. She is “full of grace”. She is the town in the middle of which God lives, powerful saviour. Great figures of Israel’s history, like Moses (Ex 3,12) or Gideon (Jue 6.12), listened these same words, which stimulated them to accomplish their mission. “The Lord is with you”. Mary is, like Judith, “blessed among the women”.
5.-       “Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what that greeting could mean. But the angel said: “Don’t fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a son and you shall call him Jesus”. (Lk 1, 31). Jesus means “God saves”. God sets his name. He wants to show himself “powerful saviour” (Zeph 3,17) through Jesus. “He will be great and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give him the kingdom of David, his ancestor; he will rule over the people of Jacob for ever and his reign shall have no end” (Lk 1, 32-33). In Him are accomplished the promises made by God to David (2 Sam 7, 12 –16)
6.-       Mary asked “how can this be if I am a virgin?” (Lk 1,34), it is to say, she did not have intercourse with any man (see Mt 1,25). The angel answered: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the holy child to be born shall be called Son of God” (Lk 1,35). The action of God is mentioned without any further explanation. About the tabernacle in which God manifest himself in the Old Testament, it is said: “The cloud covered Yahweh’s  House and the glory of the Lord filled his Home”. (1K 8,11). John formulates it in this manner: “And the Word was made flesh and he had his tent pitched among us” (Jn 1, 13). Mary accepts God´s plan: “I am the servant of the Lord; let be done to me like you have said”. (Lk 1,38).

7.-       Jesus conception takes place in the inner being of a story where it had been slowly prepared. It is said about great personalities of the Old Testament that they were the result of the action of God: Isaac (Gn 17, 16), Jacob (Gn 25, 21), Samson (Jdg 1,37), Samuel (1Sam 1-2), John the Baptist (Lk 1, 13-17). After burning desires, prayer and promise of God, a couple so far sterile finally got their fruit: “nothing is impossible for God” (Lk 1,37). In a special way, in Jesus´ conception what was written is accomplished: “The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and he will be called Emmanuel, which means: God with us” (Mt 1,23; see Is 7, 14-17).
8.- Jesus´ origin is collected in the old faith professions: Jesus “was conceived by the works and grace of the Holy Spirit, and he was born from Saint Mary the Virgin (Symbol of the Apostles; see Vatican Council II, LG 52). About the brothers and sisters of Jesus, cited in the Gospel (see Mt 13,55-56, and parallel verses), it is usually said that in the Biblical world the nearest family is known as brothers and sisters (see Gn 13, 8; 12,5; 14; 16; Lev 10,4; 1 Chr 23,22); the Gospel calls Jesus´ brothers to Saint Jacob, Joseph, Simon and Judas (Mt 13,55); nevertheless, they explicitly distinguish between the mother of Jesus and that of Saint Jacob and Joseph (Mt 27,56; Mk 15,40). Christian tradition calls Mary “the always virgin”.
9.-       God places historic events to the service of Jesus´ manifestation. Augustus, the Emperor, ordered a census to be carried out; it was the first one for the Jews. Joseph belonged to David’s family and descent so he went from Nazareth to David’s town of Bethlehem to be registered with his wife Mary (Lk 2, 4-5). Because of this, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, where - like it was announced- the Messiah should be born (Mic 5,1; Mt 2,5). According to the Monumentum Ancyranum, Augustus ordered the citizens census in three occasions. While they were in Bethlehem, Mary “gave birth to a son, her firstborn, and she laid him in the manger, because there was no place for them in the living room” (Lk 2, 7).
10.-     From the beginning, Jesus´ light irradiates in the world and the believers (attentive, watching) get it: Mary (Lk 1,38), Joseph (Mt 1,20), Elizabeth (Lk 1,41), the  shepherds (2,9), the wise men (Mt 2,2), Simeon (Lk 2,30), Anna (2,38). The wise men set out their way; they go from signal to signal and they ask in Jerusalem: Where is the newborn King of the Jews?. We saw the rising of his star in the East ( Mt 2,2; see Ne 24,17;  Ps 72 and 19; Is 60, 1-6). Nevertheless, others stay at home, like the priests and the experts of the law (Mt 2,4), or they tremble and restrain like Herod (2, 3. 16).
11.-     At the end of the first century, the Jewish historian Josephus talks about a messianic movement very alive by the year 6 B.C., indicating that Herod punished it with drastic measures (Jewish antiquities, XVII, 44 and follow on). He also talks about the popular rumour establishing that God had decided to end Herod´s power, since a divine signal had announced the coming or a Jewish leader (Jewish war, 1,17; see Lagrange, LÉvangile selon Saint Mathew, Paris 1927). The pagan writer Macrobius, about the year 400 B.C., cites an Augustus´ allusion to the “Herod killing of boys who were two years old or under”. (Saturnalia, V,2).
12. As far as the star is concerned in 1606 Kepler stated this hypothesis: triple conjunction, extremely rare, of Jupiter and Saturn in Pisces’ constellation (De Iesu Christi servatori nostri vero anno natalitatis, Frankfurt). A text in cuneiform characters disclosed by Schnabel in 1925, reveals that the conjunction was observed in the Astronomy School of Sippar, old city of Babylonia. (Zeitschr. f. Assyrioloie, vol. 2 n. F., 66).  The conjunction appeared on April 12th  year 7 b. C. and was repeated three times with culmination points the 29th of May, the 3rd of October and the 4th of December. According to this, the Christian calendar, established by the monk Dionysus the year 525, presents a calculus mistake: Christ was born the year 7 B.C.
13. The fact, the triple conjunction, could coincide with the main Jewish feasts, the three feast of peregrination to Jerusalem: “Three times a year all your men shall pre sent themselves before Yahweh, your God, in the place chosen by him: on the Feast of Un leavened Bread, on the Feast of Weeks, and on the Feast of Tents. And you shall not present yourselves empty-handed, but each one will offer in proportion to what he has, according to the blessing that Yahweh has bestowed upon you. (Dt 16, 16 – 17). At that time the trip could last a month and a half.
 14-  Impelled by God’s  Spirit, Simeon went to the temple. Although the mystery of Jesus overcame him, he had the conscience to find himself before the Messiah in which the Servant’s mission is also accomplished, “light of the nations” (Is 49, 6)  With the boy in his arms he blessed God saying: “Now, oh Lord, you can, according to your word, dismiss your servant in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation”, “light to illuminate the gentiles and glory of your people Israel”. Mary and Joseph “were admired at what was said about the child” (Lk 2, 30-33)
15. The mystery of Jesus constituted Lord and Christ (Act 2, 36), is fully revealed under the light of the Pasch, but it had its signals already from the beginning. We are invited to make like Mary: to keep these things in the heart and to sing the Magnificat. With the shame on the back and delight in the heart, Mary goes to the mountain, singing a song: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord”
* Dialogue: What did Mary carry in the heart?