Please notice to the left of our altar as parishioners look at it. What does this have in common with the reading for today? When we think about it, the answer should become clear. In the original Greek, our Gospel for the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary time reads, “The spirit is the life maker.” The general translation is, “It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.” This implies the Spirit continuously creates life. The Spirit creates life in each person. Our Blessed Virgin speaks of this in the Magnificat, the great poem on the making of life. Indeed, as the Mother of God our Blessed Virgin is the creator of life.
“My anima proclaims the greatness of the NAME; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
He has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me, and dedicated is his NAME.
His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with nobility. The rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped Israel (Those who struggle with God) his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
Deuteronomy 30 also speaks of the life creator in the Spirit:
This command I give you today is not too wondrous or remote for you. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who will go up to the heavens to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” No, it is something very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to do it…I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life…!
If the Spirit is in us, it produces life. It asks how to produce life in every instant of our lives. When we see the lowly, the hungry, those who struggle to understand God in their lives The Spirit produces life. It asks, “How I can create the most life for the person standing before me.” Our Blessed Virgin answers this question by first pointing to God as the person to whom she proclaims the greatness. Her Spirit rejoices in God her savior. The Hebrew/Aramaic word she would have used for Savior is “Jesus.” The Spirit rules nothing out. If someone says they love God with all their hearts, animate being and strength, and then says, “Except with,” the Spirit is not in them. If they say the government has no role in feeding the hungry, or the church, or private enterprise, or whatever, the truth is not in them. There is no “Except” in the Spirit.
She looks upon her lowliness. This means always comparing ourselves with God, not with others, the flesh of this world. When we do the latter, there is the great fall of thinking we are better. When we do the former, we realize our humility, from humus, dirt. From dust we were made, and from dust we will return.
In Hebrew and Aramaic, the word for fear, and for looking to, is the same. The Spirit filled life is about looking to God. Jesus asks, “If I ascend…” Our eyes always need to be ascending. The Hebrew and Aramaic word for wicked is “Russia,” and means those who put themselves first. This is the rulers, of all political parties. It takes one who thinks himself first to run for the position. God throws these people down at the second coming. He then raises the humble, those who view themselves as humus/dirt. It is the humble God raises to nobility. If we want to be noble, we must be humble, and we must always look to the humble and always be asking, “How can we make each person coming before us receive the most possible life. The Gospel for the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time is all about this.