The Annunciation - Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you." But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.
Although Nazareth was off the beaten track and a sleepy enough place, Mary’s experience ranged far beyond the confines of the little village. There is a bustle about her going ‘with haste’ to visit her cousin Elizabeth in the hill country of Judah. She travelled to Bethlehem for the census and after that to Egypt. Every year, Joseph and Mary went up to Jerusalem. She went to Capernaum with Jesus and his disciples (Jn.2:12) and was back again in Jerusalem for the fateful days of the Passion (Jn.19:25-27). The last we hear of her in the New Testament, she is in the Upper Room with the apostles, some other women and the brothers of Jesus united in prayer (Acts 1.14)
Mary had the ability to take swift and decisive action. She went ‘with haste’ to visit Elizabeth. To some extent she joined her son in his ministry. She goes with the group to Capernaum and Jerusalem.The Gospel of Luke notes the thoughtful, reflective aspect of Mary. On two occasions, he describes her mulling over the whole thing in her mind as she went about her life (Lk.2:19, 51). The Magnificat tells of her radical sense of justice and her ability to express trenchant social criticism (Lk.1:46-55).
It is not difficult to imagine her dressed in a tunic of undyed wool. Hands and fingers roughened from years of work in the fields. The whole village would help out in times of planting, weeding, gleaning, picking. Her face would be burnt brown, lined and worn by the sun and hard work.
Her face would have reflected many an emotion: tense with fear on the flight to Egypt, calm in repose, warm in love, cross with anxiety when they found the child in Jerusalem, her eyes bright as a button, alert, intelligent, flashing with humour or outrage.
This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists
Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries