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Something to think and pray about this week

Just as we cannot adequately understand Jesus if we do not pay attention to his Jewish roots, so too we cannot properly appreciate Mary if we ignore the fact that she was Jewish. Mary is the high point in a long line of devout Jews who said yes to God. Her humble description of herself as the ‘handmaid of the Lord’ reminds us of the chosen people’s sense of itself as belonging to God and having no other Gods before him. Her Magnificat echoes the praises of numerous prophetic voices who thanked God for his mercy to Abraham and his descendants. Elizabeth, another Jewish woman, addresses Mary as the Mother of her Lord and as blessed among women, showing that Mary is the Woman towards whom the matriarchs, heroines and prophets of the Jewish people point. In the prayers of the Catholic Church, we attribute to Mary some of the great religious symbols of Judaism, such as the Ark of the Covenant.

Excerpted from Mary in Different Traditions: Seeing the Mother of Jesus with New Eyes by Thomas G Casey SJ
(pp: 85-86)