Thought for the day – Wednesday


Luke 1:46-55




What is the link between the Virgin Mary and a small boy and his picnic? For the answer, read on. Today the Church’s calendar invites us to reflect on the role of Mary in the incarnation of God’s only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Whatever emphasis and honour our particular Christian tradition accords to Mary in our worship and prayers, we can surely agree on one thing. Mary’s role is unique in all history, chosen as she is by God, to be the mother of his Son. Her co-operation with God’s will, announced to her by the message of the angel, gives her a closeness to God that no other human being has ever experienced nor ever will.

But where does the small boy and his picnic come in? You will perhaps spot that he is the figure in St John’s version of the feeding of the five thousand (Ch. 6) whose small picnic of five rolls and two fishes is used by Jesus to perform his miracle. There may seem a yawning gap between the contribution made by the small boy to the feeding miracle and Mary’s willingness to become the mother of Christ but it is not as large as you might think. Mary’s role is utterly unique but the way God acts in co-operation with a human being is not. Throughout history God has worked out his plans through and with the co-operation of men, women and, yes, even children. Through patriarchs and prophets and holy women and men in the Old Testament to Jesus’ disciples in the New Testament the Judaeo-Christian story is the story of co-operation between God and his human children. In describing what part each plays one theologian came up with this useful little definition, ‘Without God, we CANNOT. Without us God DOES not.’

What was true in the past is still true today. God works through his people to bring about his purposes here on earth. He is always seeking our co-operation. Looking to Mary we give her honour and praise for the role she played which we shall celebrate once again at Christmas. But if she seems too hopelessly above us in her obedience to God in her submission to the message of the angel, let’s then spare a thought for the little boy and his picnic of five rolls and two fishes. He makes us realise that we are none of us so insignificant or lacking in gifts that we are not able to play our small but unique part in building God’s kingdom on earth.


Almighty God,
who looked upon the lowliness of the Blessed Virgin Mary
and chose her to be the mother of your only Son:
grant that we who are redeemed by his blood
may share with her in the glory of your eternal kingdom. Amen