Reading 1 ZEC 2:14-17
Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
O daughter Zion, is a veiled reference to the faithful Woman who would bear the Christ child. Mary is an image of the immaculate and faithful Zion (i.e. nation of Israel). Zion is a mountain near Jerusalem which is frequently used as a symbol of Israel.
Is that confusing?
1. Jesus was born of Mary. He descended from her.
2. Jesus was born from Zion, He descended from the Jews. Mary was a Jewish woman.
3. Mary is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God.
4. Israel is frequently depicted as a woman and as the spouse of God.
5. Although Zion is frequently depicted as unfaithful, she is also depicted as being purified by God and saved in the end.
This verse then, prophecies the coming of the faithful Woman, Mary. And indirectly the coming of Christ.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
and they shall be his people,
and he will dwell among you,
and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
The LORD will possess Judah as his portion in the holy land,
and he will again choose Jerusalem.
Now the coming of Christ is prophecied and the redemption of the Gentiles also.
Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD!For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.
And the whole world is warned that it is time to focus on the Lord. For He has done a new thing upon the earth. God walks among His people.
Or RV 11:19A; 12:1-6A, 10AB
God’s temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.
The Ark of the Covenant is a pre-figuring of the Mother of God. Why?
1. The Ark of the Covenant contained the Manna or the Bread of Heaven.
Mary contained, in her womb, Jesus the True Bread of Heaven.
2. The Ark of the Covenant contained staff of Aaron which symbolized the Asronic His Priesthood.
Mary contained, in her womb, the eternal High Priest, Jesus.
3. The Ark of the Covenant contained the Word of God carved by the finger of God into stone tablets.
Mary contained, in her womb, the Word of God made flesh.
That is why Mary is called the Ark of the New Covenant.
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.
This is the sign which was given to St. Juan Diego. Along with the Shroud, the Mantle of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a powerful sign given us by God.
It also confirms the doctrines of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the Crowning of the Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven and the Virgin Mary as Mother of God.
Then another sign appeared in the sky;
it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns,
and on its heads were seven diadems.
Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky
and hurled them down to the earth.
This dragon is Satan, who is attempting to kill the Christ.
Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth,
to devour her child when she gave birth.
She gave birth to a son, a male child,
destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.
Jesus, although He was killed on the Cross, overcame death and was ascended into heaven.
The woman herself fled into the desert
where she had a place prepared by God.
In his prophetic way of speaking, St. John goes back and forth in time. Here he mentions the evacuation of Mary with Jesus and Joseph to the desert of Egypt. Egypt is a desert literally speaking and spiritually, because it was a land of gentiles where God was not recognized.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed.”
And when the Dragon was defeated, the voice of an Angel rang out in heaven to declare the victory.
Responsorial Psalm JDT 13:18BCDE, 19
R. (15:9d) You are the highest honor of our race.
Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God,
above all the women on earth;
and blessed be the LORD God,
the creator of heaven and earth.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.
Your deed of hope will never be forgotten
by those who tell of the might of God.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.
Judith is a book about a woman of the Old Testament who overcame an evil King and saved her people. She is another woman who is declared to be blessed in the Bible. The other, is the Virgin Mary as you shall read below. There is so much that we can learn from this section of the Gospel and I’ve written about it before. So, rather than do it again, I’ll refer you to that article, here.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, holy Virgin Mary, deserving of all praise;
from you rose the sun of justice, Christ our God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel LK 1:26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.
God sent an Angel to praise Mary.
Let’s break this down:
1. an angel is a messenger of God. That is what the word, angel, means.
2. this angel, Gabriel, is one of the four angels that stands before the throne of God.
WAS SENT FROM GOD
1. God sent this angel to Mary.
2. Since this angel is a messenger of God’s, God sent Him to deliver a message.
3. Therefore, the angel was not speaking on his own, but was communicating God’s message to Mary.
4. If we skip down to verse 28, we see that this was a message of praise (i.e. blessed art thou).
5. Therefore God praised Mary through His Angel.
That is great praise indeed. Do you know of any man whose praise is worth more than God’s? In other words, what do you value more highly, the praise of man or the praise of God?
But, there’s more. God sent the Angel to do His Will. What is His Will. Obviously, God sent the Angel to deliver a message of praise. Therefore it is God’s will that the Angels praise Mary.
And there’s yet more. Because the Holy Spirit inspired a holy woman to exclaim, “”Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! ”
Or LK 1:39-47
Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”
And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”
God, speaking through His Saint, praises Mary.
1. The Holy Spirit is God the Third Person of the Holy Trinity.
2. Therefore, God inspired Elisabeth to praise Mary.
3. This praise is inscribed in the Word of God for all generations.
4. Since Elisabeth is a member of the human race, then it is safe to conclude that God wills that men praise Mary.
5. And we find, again, that God praised Mary through His Saint. Saint Elisabeth praised Mary when she was inspired by the Holy Spirit to do so. That means that it is the Holy Spirit’s praise which she passed on. That is why Scripture is called the Word of God. Because it is inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, God wills that the Angels and the Saints, praise Mary.