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December 12, 2018: Our Lady of Guadalupe

Reading Zechariah 2:14-17
Gospel Luke 1:26-38

“Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God, above all the women on earth.…’”

Today’s Responsorial is not taken from one of the psalms, but from the Old Testament Book of Judith. The verses of the Responsorial, by which the Church praises Mary today, in their original setting praise the Old Testament heroine Judith. In the thirteenth chapter of Judith you can read of Judith beheading the Assyrian general Holofernes, thus freeing her people from foreign control. The praise that follows, which we hear in today’s Responsorial, is offered by Uzziah, the king of Judah.

Although the transposition of this praise to honor Mary makes sense when one reads the verses themselves, the original setting might give one pause. However, even the setting in which Judith receives praise offers insight into the vocation of Our Blessed Mother, especially as we honor her today under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

In the first book of the Bible, after the fall of Adam and Eve, God curses the serpent and declares: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.” The Church has always heard these words as foreshadowing the advent of Christ and His mother Mary. It is through Mary’s vocation as the Mother of God that the power of evil is destroyed. As we ask the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe on behalf of the unborn and their mothers, we trust that her maternal love will transform our country and world into a culture of life.