Dec 24 – Advent 4
Luke 1:46b-55
Mary’s Song of Praise

Background: The first two chapters of Luke are known as his Infancy Narrative, for it describes in great detail the conception and childhood of Jesus, often through the eyes of his mother Mary. With her consent (1:38) to be the Mother of Our Lord, Mary faithfully serves the purpose of God. Historically, Mary was one of Luke’s sources when compiling this gospel.

Theme: The passage is a description of God and it focuses on God’s actions throughout Israel’s history. Mary speaks about a God who reverses things, who is capable of overturning human authority and structures.

Questions to Ponder
* Please read Luke 1:46b-55.
* Place this reading in context; where does it take place, who are the characters, what is the relationship between the characters, etc.?
* When looking at the form of the text, does it appear that verses 51-53 were added into the original song “authored” by Mary?
* What do you think the intent of this canticle is?
* What or how is this passage connected to the Old Testament?
* What is unique about this song or prophecy in the Jewish biblical tradition?
* What was the function of the Old Testament characters who are mimicked in this text? How do Mary and the female prophets in the Hebrew Scripture act as markers at times of change in Israel’s history?
* Mary, and her life described in this text, are often appropriated by those people focused on liberation and Liberation Theology. What about this text helps support a sense of liberation for the oppressed?
* To which character in Israel’s history are verses 54 and 55 connected?
* Discuss the commentary Mary is making in verses 51-53.
* What characteristics of this song lead scholars to call it a “Song of Praise”?
* In light of this song, how would you describe how God acts in the realm of humans?
* What are some of the adjectives that you might use to describe the emotion or feeling of this text?
* How might Mary’s claim of liberation support an ethic of right behavior and of liberation, not at the expense of another but alongside another?
* What other ways have you heard this text conveyed?
* How might this canticle shape the way we carry God’s message to our society?
* How are we challenged to reevaluate how we relate to those on the margins of our society?