Fr Paul Gooley reads from the Gospel of Luke (1: 46-56), in which Mary responds to Elizabeth’s greeting with her Magnificat (or song). Fr Paul says Mary’s Magnificat, which we hear in today’s Gospel, sums up the themes of the Gospel. On the one hand, it is full of gratitude and praise to the God of mercy. On the other hand, Mary’s song is strongly reminiscent of God’s special love for the hungry and the powerless. This is apparent in all the Gospels, but especially in Luke, who is writing to remind a richer audience of their obligations. He stresses the poverty of the surroundings of Jesus’ birth; of the shepherds who first come to reverence him; of the baby’s own refugee status. His beatitudes focus not on Christian attitudes and motivations, but on the grinding poverty of those who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. He remains constantly aware of the dangers of wealth and the reversal of standards in God’s evaluations. Finally, Luke carefully reminds us that the spearhead of the ‘Poor of the Lord’, who receive the message in these Infancy Stories, are the faithful in Israel, according to his mercy ‘to Abraham and his descendants for ever.’ Fr Paul says, we need people like Mary to remind us that the Holy Spirit is alive and active in our lives, too.