Mary, in her response, “My soul magnifies the greatness of the Lord” instantly reflects the reversal that is Jesus’ message. Rather than wondering what God can do for her, she dedicates her life to magnify or to enlarge and to make visible God in our world.
We still need to answer the question: Is it enough? We still need to ask ourselves if who we are, what we do and believe is enough? We need wonder if how we live our lives professes our faith sufficiently for us to call ourselves Christian? The hard questions remain. But now we are doing this holy and hard work in the light of forgiveness and compassion. As we look toward the coming of Christ, let us welcome the fire which will inspire us to be generous to each other, live with integrity in our relationships with each other, and to respect the dignity of all people, erasing the divides we so often create.
This is what John the Baptist speaks of in our lesson today: the baptism of the repentance for the forgiveness of sins. It’s actually not the sins themselves that he wants to wash away, for God has already done that. It is our repentance of them, our turning away from them, our stretching our minds beyond them, our conversion to a life which no longer allows them. John the Baptist wants us to release ourselves from whatever prison we find ourselves within, which keeps us from the love of God. This is what we’re called into today by the prophetic voice of John the Baptist. Our actions, or our failure to act, the attacks, wounds, insults and slurs we have inflicted upon others or which have been inflicted upon us, these can stay with us for years, even though God has long ago has washed them away. For grace comes first. God shows up. God invites us to repent, to “go beyond our mind”, so the mountains we construct to protect our souls, can be torn down and washed away.
It is this life force, this Kingdom of God come near, this divine love, this presence of Christ planted deep within our souls, which nourishes, supports, stabilizes, and energizes us, and is the still point in a world that is constantly changing.