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Remembering Mary: An Advent/Christmas reflection by Fr. Thomas Rosica

Salt + Light Television presents a series of blogs reflecting on Advent and Christmas by Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto, Bishop William McGrattan, and Salt + Light CEO Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB.  The series will look at Mary, Joseph, the Word Made Flesh, and the Magi, and will be spread over the next two weeks.  We begin by Remembering Mary (you can watch both reflections here).

Listen to this beautiful text from the prophet Zephaniah 3:14-18:

Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has taken away your punishment,
he has turned back your enemy.
The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you;
never again will you fear any harm.
On that day  they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp.
The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
“I will remove from you all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals, which is a burden and reproach for you.

The reading from the Prophet Zephaniah speaks of the Daughter of Zion, the personification of the city of Jerusalem. Let us reflect on the significance of this title of the holy city of Jerusalem and see how and why the Church appropriated the title for Mary, Mother of the Lord.

Daughter of Zion is the personification of the city of Jerusalem. Zion was the name of the Jebusite citadel that later became the City of David. In the many texts of the Old Testament that speak of the Daughter of Zion, there is no real distinction to be made between a daughter of Zion and the city of Jerusalem itself.

In the Old Testament, the title Virgin of Israel is the same as the Daughter of Zion. The image of the bride of the Lord is found in Hosea, Chapters 1-3: It reflects the infidelity of the people to their God.

Jeremiah 3:3-4 speaks of prostitution and the infidelity of the bride. Virginity in the Old Testament is fidelity to the Covenant. In 2 Corinthians 11:2, Paul speaks of the Church as a pure virgin. Here, virginity is the purity of faith.

Throughout the Old Testament, it is in Zion-Jerusalem that God shall gather together all of his people. In Isaiah 35:10, the tribes of Israel shall gather in Zion. In Ezekiel 22:17-22, the prophet describes God’s purification of his people that shall take place “within” the walls of the city, in the midst of Jerusalem.

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