Choose your language

Gospel for Wednesday, December 8: Luke 1: 26-38

Immaculate Conception of Mary

26In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin betrothed to a man of the house of David, whose name was Joseph. The virgin was called Mary. 28Entering her, he said: “Rejoice, full of grace: the Lord is with you.” 29At these words she was very upset and wondered what sense a greeting like this had. 30The angel said to her: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And behold, you will conceive a son, and you will give birth to him, and you will call his name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will have no end.” 34Then Mary said to the angel: “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” 35The angel answered her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the one to be born will be holy and will be called the Son of God. 36And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, in her old age has also conceived a son and this is the sixth month for her, who was called barren: 37nothing is impossible with God.” 38Then Mary said: “Behold the servant of the Lord: let it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Luke 1: 26-38

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

The text of Mary’s vocation is a wonder that we must try to delve deeper into.

  • 28: Mary must “rejoice” (kàire) because she is the incarnation of ancient Israel, which must explode with joy because the Messiah has come: better than the Latin “Ave” is the translation “Gaude” of the Greek fathers. “Mary in fact is greeted by Gabriel with the words of joy (1,28) with which the prophets Zechariah (2,14-15;9,9-10), Zephaniah (3,14-17) and Joel (2, 21-27) had invited the “daughter of Zion” to hope, that is, the rest of Israel (Is 10.20) who, returning from exile, would rebuild the “house of Jacob”, of which Jesus will be king ( 1.33)” (M. Masini). God comes “among us”, to make our sterility fertile, to bring salvation and abundance. By obeying God, Mary must always be the woman of joy, of smiles, of joy, and not of tears or crying!

Mary is the kecharitòmene, the “graced one”, made lovable (not “full of grace”, she would have been plerès charitòs, as in Acts 6.8 referring to Stephen). Mary is made beautiful by the mercy of God. Many popular praises have sung the beauty of Mary: “You rise more beautiful than the dawn… You are as beautiful as the sun…”; “Immaculate, beautiful virgin…”; “Look at your people, O beautiful Lady…”: we are talking about a theological, not aesthetic beauty, the fruit of divine mercy.

She is the favorite out of love, the Israel chosen out of mercy: “When Israel was young, I loved him and from Egypt I called my son… I taught Ephraim to walk holding him by the hand… I was for them like someone who lifts a child to his cheek; I bent over him to feed him” (Hos 11,1-4). She is the chosen one made beautiful by grace: “I passed by you and saw you…; I spread the hem of my cloak over you and covered your nakedness… and you became mine… Your fame spread among the people for your beauty, which was perfect, for the glory that I had placed in you, word of the Lord God” (Ez 16,8-14). It is Israel made husband of God: “I will make you my bride forever…, I will betroth you to me in faithfulness and you will know the Lord” (Hos 2,21-28; CdC).

If Eve had disobeyed God, Mary contrasts her with her “yes” (Lk 1.38), and with her invitation to “do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2.5), like obedient Israel at Sinai, who acclaims: “What the Lord has said, we will do” (Ex 19.8; cf. 24.3.7), in obedience in contrast to Eve’s sin. And the people, who according to the Rabbis were physically disabled, oppressed by slavery, become the beautiful and spotless bride of the Song of Songs (Ex 15.26; Song 1.2).

Mary is also the new Eve, the first of the “mothers” of Israel, who in the rabbinic tradition was beautiful. At the foot of the new tree of life, the Cross, she will therefore be constituted “mother” of the disciples (Jn 19,25-27). But she is also a figure of the Church, which is born from obedience, she is made beautiful by the Spirit, she becomes the bride of Christ.

“The Lord is with you”: this is the proper term for vocation stories. Mary is the model of the believer, called to be with the Lord. It is this Presence that gives security to Mary’s turmoil (Lk 1,29), that gives her strength to overcome her objection: “How is this possible?” (Luke 1:34). This suits no one better than Mary, the place where the Word himself became Emmanuel, God with us, has placed his tent among us (Jn 1,14), she who will be covered by his shadow – cloud – Shekinah.

  • 29: Mary is troubled, reflects, asks: she is going into crisis. Hers is her mature faith that is born from listening to a Word that is a sign of contradiction, which is always called to go out, to convert, to exodus.
  • 30: The angel then says to Mary: “Do not be afraid, Mary, because you have found favor with God (eùres gàr chàrin para tò Theò)” (Lk 1,30). In the Bible this expression (“finding grace with someone”) usually indicates the attitude of a superior who announces a particularly favorable and benevolent relationship with an inferior, as with Noah (Gen 6.8), Abraham (Gen 18.3; 19 ,9), Moses (Ex 33,12-17; 34,9), King David (Acts 7,46), the people of Israel (Jer 31,2).
  • 34: To this Mary objects her “virginitas ante partum”: “The text… invites us to go beyond the dispute about Mary’s physiological virginity or otherwise. Curiosity must give way to theology, the marginal questions at the heart of an announcement increasingly made explicit by the prayerful reflection of the primitive Church: from a virgin earth God created Adam through his breath, from an uncontaminated flesh God created Jesus, the new Adam , through his Spirit” (G. Bruni). Virginity type of the call to free ourselves from the contamination given by marriage with idols. Virginity of the heart to which everyone, married and celibate, is called and from which, ultimately, physical virginity derives its meaning. But also virginity which underlines the extraordinary nature of God’s plan, which gives the Messiah beyond any human merit or ability.
  • 38: Mary is then the “slave of IHWH” (Lk 1.38: not the “servant”), that is, the mother of the Slave (ebed) of IHWH pierced for our sins (Is 53.5): she too is a sword will pierce the soul (Lk 2,35).

Mary expresses enthusiasm and joy for God’s plan. The Greek verb translated as “let it happen” (gnoito: “let it happen to me as you say”) is an optative, that is, a form that expresses a desire and joy: Maria does not accept with resignation, but welcomes with enthusiasm and essentially says: “I’m really happy that what you said happens, I don’t want anything else!”. Paul VI wrote, proposing Mary as a model of Christian joy: “Available to the announcement coming from above, she, the servant of the Lord, the bride of the Holy Spirit, the Mother of the eternal Son, makes her joy explode before her cousin Elizabeth: «My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior… From now on all generations will call me blessed»” (Gaudete in Domino, n.4). Here is the model of the believer and the disciple.

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


Spazio Spadoni

You might also like