Moneyless Magnificat

He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.

 

As we’ve established in previous blogs, the Holy Family was not rich. Jesus was born in a barn. His birth was attended by working class strangers. His parents’ offering at the temple was not one to be proud of. His people were oppressed by an empire. Jesus had no social advantages. 

This is the miracle of the incarnation. Just as the inestimable God stooped to become man, he also condescended to the powerless. As a demonstration of Matthew 25, God identifies himself with the poor, the hurting, the marginalized. 

Mary voiced this theme with Jesus still in her womb. 

He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.

This is the way Mary celebrated. She would have sung this way as her young family grew, humming her worship songs while she cared for her household. And both her sons echoed it in adulthood. 

James, the brother of Jesus, wrote: 

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?

Jesus himself said: 

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The God of the Bible identifies himself with the poor and lowly — those, like unwed mothers, with no social or economic advantages. Mary embodied that lesson, and she discipled her children in it.