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Author PHILIP János From Wikimedia Commons

In the year 1990, a 14-year-old girl named Ruchika Girhotra who lived in the state of Haryana was molested by a senior police officer who was a friend of her family.

In spite of the fact that a witness to this gut-wrenching incident was present, justice was not served to the accused. On the contrary, a very unfortunate outcome occurred: Ruchika had to endure a continuous period of suffering, she was expelled from school, her brother was subjected to severe physical abuse, and in the end, Ruchika committed suicide as a result.

That night, the accused even threw a party for his friends. Justice was not served. After 19 years, a court convicted him of molesting Ruchika and sentenced him to only six months in jail and payment of a token fine.

Ruchika’s case illustrates how injustice has been perpetrated by the powerful against the weak in our nation. The time of Mary, the mother of Jesus, would not have been very different. There is a possibility that she was 15 years old at the time.

And her country was ruled by foreigners. The Romans had a reputation for ruthlessness in their occupation of other nations. In spite of the fact that they granted a certain degree of freedom to their occupied nations, they exploited them by levying excessive taxes which left the majority of the people impoverished and in need.

During this period, while the oppressors and their friends obtained increasing wealth, the majority of the Jewish population remained poor. Those who were oppressed longed for the establishment of God’s justice and salvation.

When the angel appeared to Mary and revealed that she would give birth to the Son of God she sang this beautiful song, called the Magnificat, which is essentially a song of justice. Mary magnified the Lord because he had sent the Savior into the world (1:47).

For her, in the coming of Christ, the powerful and mighty will be overthrown from their thrones (1:52) and the proud will be scattered (1:51). Upon the advent of Christ, the powerful and the proud who abuse the needy will be overthrown and scattered.

Consequently, the humble will be exalted while the hungry and poor will be filled with good things (1:52-53). Jesus’ birth, then, was a great equalizer. In Mary’s eyes, Christ’s advent marked the beginning of the establishment of justice in this world.

At the time of Christ’s coming, there will be a status reversal: the poor will be filled with good things while the rich will go empty handed. People who exploit the poor and needy will be scattered, overthrown, and sent away empty-handed.

Those who were oppressed and are in need will be blessed with good things at the coming of Christ. Mary foresees a new world established at the incarnation of Christ. She envisions a world where justice will be established for the minority and the weak.

We live in a world dominated by majoritarian politics. It is the majority, the strong, and the powerful who dictate terms. In Christ, however, the weak and the minority have hope. In Mary’s Magnificat, we are reminded that the poor and the needy have hope in Christ! 

The season of Christmas, then, is a time when we should remember the poor, needy, and weak. This is a time to offer prayers for the homeless, destitute, and sick. In this season of giving, we should share our blessings with those who are disadvantaged or underprivileged.

Immediately following the announcement of the Messiah’s birth, Mary thought of the poor and in need, she praised God that justice would be served to oppressed and oppressors alike. She expressed that justice will be established in this world.

Therefore, let us strive to establish justice in our world. Let us then remember those who are oppressed and suppressed in our midst. Let us bring light into the lives of those who are bound in darkness this season! Amen!!

Bennet Lawrence serves as the Asst. Regional Secretary, Asia Theological Association