God Exalts The Lowly

22 December - Advent

1 Sam. 1:24-28 & Lk. 1:46-56

In today’s first reading we see how grateful Hannah is to God for Samuel’s birth. She offers a sacrifice in thanksgiving.

Almost everyone young and old remembers and loves the story of Cinderella. She was the young woman who had to cook, clean and scrub while her stepsisters had a good time. But in the end she was the one chosen to marry the Prince. We enjoy this story because we are happy to see the proud cast down and the humble lifted. We like to support the underdog.

But I think Cinderella is more than just a fairy story. It is a cameo of something that has been going on throughout history. We read about it in the gospel of St. Luke when Mary was singing her praises to God. “He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly. The hungry He has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away”.

Mary did not know the story of Cinderella, of course, but she did know history and had observed the strange turn of events in the affairs of people and nations. Time and time again, those who seemed to be invincible had fallen; and those who seemed so vulnerable had risen to places of honour. Cain had been punished for the murder of his brother Abel. Noah’s faith had been rewarded, while the wicked around him had perished. The exiled Jews had been freed from slavery and brought back to their own land. Now a lowly girl was to be exalted and honoured as the mother of the Messiah. Mary knew this was divine intervention, and in her song she praises God for His justice.

What about the present world? We see so much injustice around us. The rich get richer and the poor are trapped in a downward spiral from which there appears to be no escape. Evil and greed seem to prosper while good people suffer. The lowly and the hungry think of themselves as being completely neglected. But Mary’s song is a message of hope and encouragement.

We must never despair because our faith tells us that evil cannot and will not triumph. As individuals, we may be too weak and insignificant to bring down arrogant rulers or remove corrupt governments, but God has the power to do it. His justice is perfect and in His own time He will give to each of us what we deserve.

Dear Jesus, may we join with Your mother Mary in praising God for His wisdom and justice.