(Part 59)


December 12, 2014

Today’s readings:

Judith 13:18-19

Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear Jesus (Lk 1:26-30), who would be the Savior of the world. With her yes, Mary becomes engaged in spiritual warfare. It would be the start of the fulfillment of the prophecy at Eden, where God tells the serpent that his head would be crushed by the woman and her offspring (see Gn 3:15).

Gabriel greeted Mary thus, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” (Lk 1:28). Much earlier in salvation history, Uzziah also greeted Judith thus, “Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God, above all the women on earth” (Jdt 13:18a). This was after she had beheaded Holofernes and thus saved the people of God. Thus Uzziah exulted, “blessed be the Lord God, the creator of heaven and earth, who guided your blow at the head of the leader of our enemies.” (Jdt 13:18b).

Gabriel confirmed what he told Mary with the sign of her aged and barren relative Elizabeth becoming pregnant (Lk 1:36). Elizabeth would give birth to John, who became the Baptist, and who would be beheaded by Herod due to his preaching the good news of the kingdom of God.

Judith, John the Baptist, Mary, Jesus — warriors all. Engaged in a life-and-death struggle with the evil one. Now we too are to be similarly engaged. We are to be instruments of salvation for God’s people.

Engaged in spiritual warfare, we may lose our lives, as John was beheaded. But as instruments of God like Judith, we behead the enemy of God’s people. As victory already belongs to the Lord, we participate in lopping off the head of the serpent.

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