Advent Lectionary: Judith 13:18-19

Judith makes a rare Lectionary appearance Wednesday this week for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. If you want my opinion, I think the Lectionary framers were scared spitless of Judith. They probably still are.

R. (15:9d) You are the highest honor of our race.
Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God,
above all the women on earth;
and blessed be the LORD God,
the creator of heaven and earth.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.
Your deed of hope will never be forgotten
by those who tell of the might of God.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.

If you read chapters 13 through 15 of Judith, you might get the same idea. We haven’t let the woman say anything in our Lectionary even though she seems to have quite a bit to say after she’s lopped off the head of the barbarian at the gate and has brought it back to the city for encouragement. Instead we get the public tribute from Uzziah. How about more of the praise of God, if not the lady’s words themselves? The least they could have done is add verse 14b, from Judith’s mouth:

Praise God, give praise!
Praise God, who has not withdrawn his mercy
from the house of Israel,
but has shattered our enemies
(by my hand this very night!)

Or perhaps we’d rather not reflect on the European dominion over Latin America, and if we’re thinking Judith and the Virgin of Guadalupe have a connection, it might well be the head of Hernán Cortés should have ended up on an Aztec spike.

Mary’s Magnificat might be an honored text for the Liturgy of the Hours, and for the occasional musical extravaganza. But if we really looked at it closely, I think more churchmen would think twice about putting it in the Lectionary too much. The Annunciation and the Visitation are more safe. And they are mysteries of the Rosary, for heaven’s sake. Not even the Magnificat is that.

Count me as slightly disappointed on the psalm for Guadalupe. The Church can do better.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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