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The Word, The Truth

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St Luke’s account of Mary’s trip to visit her cousin Elizabeth (1:39-56) is replete with theological significance despite its simple domestic setting. It offers another opportunity to link Jesus and John which other gospels are silent about. This time the two have been paired not separately but joined and stressing as always the subordination of John to Jesus. Even the depiction of the two mothers, Elizabeth defers to Mary throughout, (though later in her Magnificat Mary deflected the encomium from Elizabeth by attributing everything to the action of God).

In this Visitation episode the word ‘blessed’ appeared four times (v42 twice, v45, v48). But two Greek words were used. The first two used ‘eulogëmenë’

(εὐλογημένη) while the last two used ‘makaria’ (μακαρία). Both Greek words could mean blessed, joyful, happy. Coming from Elizabeth and addressing it to Mary, through her prophetic insight she knows that Mary has been specially chosen by God and that her child is special, that is why she and the child in her womb are blessed, referring to the gratuitous and gracious act of God. But aside from that basic meaning of being ‘blessed’, the second word used (‘makaria’ vv 45,58) had an added nuance, that is, Elizabeth praises Mary for her trust in God’s word. She is blessed in accordance to the biblical tradition which denote the condition of righteous existence before God (cf Ps 1:1;2:12;

83:4;93:12[LXX]). This is the term Jesus used in his Beatitudes (Lk 6:20-22; Mt 5:3-12). Luke clearly pointed this out in 11:27 when Jesus contrasted between “blessed is the womb that carried you…” and “rather blessed are those who hear the word of God and observed it”. And of course Mary is blessed on both counts.

As we draw nearer to the celebration of the birth of our Savior, we look up to Mary as our model in our desire to be blessed before God. Indeed we are so blessed already and enough. But just like Mary we can be truly and fully blessed if we continue to listen to the Word of God and accomplish it, thereby living a real righteous life before God.

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Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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