Within Luke’s Gospel are two radical statements of what God intends in the messianic age, when the Spirit is poured out in power. Luke 4 offers Jesus’ sermon at the hometown synagogue; this week’s Gospel reading is the Magnificat voiced by Mary. A thick similarity of themes holds these texts together as they illumine what the coming one is sent to accomplish. Scattering the proud; bringing down the powerful; filling the hungry with good things; sending the rich away empty; setting the captives free; these are actions that only God can achieve.
Mary stands in need of this divine assistance herself. She is humble, poor, oppressed, and most likely hungry. Yet, she has the power of consent.
When the Spirit of God overshadows, the improbable, indeed the seemingly impossible, occurs. Dry bones become a renewed people in a flourishing land, a virginal rose blooms with child, and a young man of questionable background is commissioned to the vocation of messiah. God is magnified through humanity’s consent.