The sword (Lk 2:35-2:35)

“The inner thoughts

Of many

Will be revealed.

A sword

Will pierce

Your own soul too.”

 

 καὶ σοῦ δὲ αὐτῆς τὴν ψυχὴν διελεύσεται ῥομφαία, ὅπως ἂν ἀποκαλυφθῶσιν ἐκ πολλῶν καρδιῶν διαλογισμοί.

 

Luke explained that Simeon warned Mary about her future suffering.  This is often thought of as the beginning of the many sorrows that Mary will endure because of her son, Jesus.  Luke said that a sword would pierce or go through the soul of Mary (καὶ σοῦ δὲ αὐτῆς τὴν ψυχὴν διελεύσεται ῥομφαία).  Simeon said that the inner thoughts of many would be revealed (ὅπως ἂν ἀποκαλυφθῶσιν ἐκ πολλῶν καρδιῶν διαλογισμοί).  Thus, the later medieval devotion to the Sorrowful Mother Mary is based on this passage and further developed in this gospel of Luke.

The parents of Jesus appear (Lk 2:27-2:27)

“Guided

By the Spirit,

Simeon came

Into the temple.

The parents

Brought in

Their child Jesus,

To do for him

What was customary

Under the law.”

 

καὶ ἦλθεν ἐν τῷ Πνεύματι εἰς τὸ ἱερόν· καὶ ἐν τῷ εἰσαγαγεῖν τοὺς γονεῖς τὸ παιδίον Ἰησοῦν τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτοὺς κατὰ τὸ εἰθισμένον τοῦ νόμου περὶ αὐτοῦ,

 

Luke said that Simeon, guided by the Holy Spirit (ἐν τῷ Πνεύματι), went into the Jerusalem Temple (καὶ ἦλθεν…εἰς τὸ ἱερόν).  Then the parents of the child Jesus brought him into the Temple (καὶ ἐν τῷ εἰσαγαγεῖν τοὺς γονεῖς τὸ παιδίον Ἰησοῦν τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτοὺς) for the customary actions under the Law (κατὰ τὸ εἰθισμένον τοῦ νόμου περὶ αὐτοῦ).  Unfortunately, there were no ordinary customs for the children, since the purification ritual was for the mother.  It was rare for a mother to offer up her son to God.  Normally, the 2 birds were sufficient as an offering for the first-born male child.  Nevertheless, Simeon was there in the Temple when Mary, Joseph, and the child Jesus came into the Jerusalem Temple.

The hungry are filled (Lk 1:53-1:53)

“God

Has filled

The hungry

With good things.

He has sent

The rich away

Empty.”

 

πεινῶντας ἐνέπλησεν ἀγαθῶν καὶ πλουτοῦντας ἐξαπέστειλεν κενούς.

 

This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:4, that praised Yahweh for her son the prophet Samuel.  Luke had Mary elaborate on Hannah’s thought about how the mighty and the rich would stumble, but the low and the poor would succeed.  Mary said that God had filled or satisfied the needy hungry people with good things (πεινῶντας ἐνέπλησεν ἀγαθῶν), while at the same time he had sent away (ἐξαπέστειλεν) the rich people (καὶ πλουτοῦντας) empty handed (κενούς.).  God was going to reverse the human order of rich and poor as far as food was concerned.  The rich would have nothing, but the poor would be satisfied.

The mighty and the lowly (Lk 1:52-1:52)

“God has brought down

The powerful

From their thrones.

He has lifted up

The lowly.”

 

καθεῖλεν δυνάστας ἀπὸ θρόνων καὶ ὕψωσεν ταπεινούς

 

This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:4, that praised Yahweh for her son, the prophet Samuel.  Just like here, Hannah said that the mighty and the rich would stumble, but the lowly and the poor would succeed.  Luke indicated that Mary said that God had brought down the powerful (καθεῖλεν δυνάστας) from their thrones (ἀπὸ θρόνων), while he has lifted up the lowly (καὶ ὕψωσεν ταπεινούς).  There is almost an exact equivalency between Hannah and Mary.  Mary had mentioned nothing about lowly people until now.  Luke emphasized this theme of the poor or lowly as important throughout his gospel.

The strength of God (Lk 1:51-1:51)

“God

Has shown strength

With his arm.

He has scattered

The proud thinking

In their hearts.”

 

Ἐποίησεν κράτος ἐν βραχίονι αὐτοῦ, διεσκόρπισεν ὑπερηφάνους διανοίᾳ καρδίας αὐτῶν·

 

This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:3-4, that praised Yahweh for her son, Samuel the prophet.  Hannah said that the mighty and the rich would stumble but the low and the poor would succeed.  Here Luke indicated that Mary said that God had shown strength with his arm (Ἐποίησεν κράτος ἐν βραχίονι αὐτοῦ).  Thus, he has scattered the proud thinking in their hearts (διεσκόρπισεν ὑπερηφάνους διανοίᾳ καρδίας αὐτῶν).  The power of God would scatter the proud people.

Mercy and fear (Lk 1:50-1:50)

“His mercy

Is for those

Who fear him

From generation

To generation.

 

καὶ τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ εἰς γενεὰς καὶ γενεὰς τοῖς φοβουμένοις αὐτόν.

 

This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:1-10, that praised Yahweh for her son, the prophet Samuel.  Luke indicated that Mary said that God’s mercy (καὶ τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ) was from generation to generation (εἰς γενεὰς καὶ γενεὰς) to those who feared him (τοῖς φοβουμένοις αὐτόν).  Fear of the Lord was the first step towards seeking mercy from God, no matter when you lived.

The name of God is holy (Lk 1:49-1:49)

“The Mighty One

Has done great things

For me.

Holy

Is his name.”

 

ὅτι ἐποίησέν μοι μεγάλα ὁ δυνατός. καὶ ἅγιον τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ,

 

This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:2-6, that praised Yahweh for the birth of her son, the prophet Samuel.  Yahweh was the rock of Hannah’s knowledge.  Luke indicated that Mary said that the Mighty One (ὁ δυνατός) had done great things for Mary (ὅτι ἐποίησέν μοι μεγάλα).  Thus, Holy is his name (καὶ ἅγιον τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ).  Mary appreciated that the powerful holy God had gone great things for her.