“He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.’”

Mary’s Magnificat, Luke 1:53 (NRSV)

Feast for the Famished

Mary’s prophetic word was later repeated by Jesus in a slightly different context. Messiah was dining with tax collectors and other “sinners,” which caught the notice of a number of Pharisees. They questioned Jesus, surely in consideration of “guilt by association,” of concern that Jesus’s presence might in some way be indicating Jesus—or even God—condoned the life choices of the people He was publicly befriending. Jesus replied, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Jesus’s meaning was clear.

Mary’s meaning is also clear. Those who consider themselves well-fed are not interested in more food. Only those who come hungry will be fed, for it is only they who will eat.

Jesus spoke of a particular kind of hunger, a longing for true righteousness, to have God’s character, hold God’s values, and live out God’s way before the Lord and with others. When you and I receive Christ’s Spirit, then we are filled with all that can satisfy our spiritual hunger.

“Oh how serene and joyful, how filled with God’s goodness is the person who longs for righteousness in the way a famished person longs for food and a parched person longs for drink, because that person will be truly satisfied”

Christmas Carol

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
as of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords in human likeness,
in the body and the blood
he will give to all the faithful
his own self for heav’nly food.

“Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” Gerard Moultrie (1864)


Thank You, O Lord, for preparing a banquet of righteousness for those who come to you longing to be filled.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Jesus’s Beatitudes, Matthew 5:6 (NRSV)
Rembrandt Simeon and Anna in the Temple@Kunsthalle Hamburg | By Rembrandt – Photographer and uploader was Hajotthu at de.wikipedia, Public Domain

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