Evergreen boughs in Trinity Church

Five Ways Into Sunday’s Scripture: The Source of Our Hope

LUKE 1:39–45,46–55

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

The Gospel lection consists of two parts: In the Judean hills, Mary’s cousin Elizabeth overflows with joy at Mary’s greeting of peace. She welcomes Mary and showers her with blessings. Mary’s greeting initiates a remarkable conversation that moves from Elizabeth’s beatitudes to Mary’s Magnificat, in which she sings praises to God and testifies to God’s mercy. Mary proclaims God’s work of justice to the poor and the promise of peace for all the world. It is telling that Mary’s song of hope is delivered in the past tense, so trusting is she in God’s purpose. Mary reminds us of the source of our hope. —Dr. Kathy Bozzuti-Jones


Richard Rohr interprets the Magnificat in terms of Jesus’s preferential option for the poor.


John Dear, SJ, on the Magnificat of Mary as a dangerous manifesto of revolutionary nonviolence.

From A Modern Magnificat by Joy Cowley: “The gift is not for the proud, for they have no room for it. The strong and self-sufficient ones don’t have this awareness.”


Here’s an instructional video with the author of Praying in Color on practicing lectio divina with art materials. You might try this method for meditating on the Magnificat of Mary.


“Blessed Thou Art,” an exhibition of diverse Marian artwork.


The great Lucille Clifton’s poetry: “a song of mary” and “mary’s dream.”

Coming Up

Discovery — Spirituality, Christian Identity and Leadership: The Worldview of Desmond Tutu — concludes this Sunday at 10am. The Very Rev. Dr. Michael Battle, Professor of Church and Society and Director of the Desmond Tutu Center at The General Theological Seminary, joins the Trinity community for a series based on his new book, Desmond Tutu: A Spiritual Autobiography of South Africa’s Confessor.