20.12.2019 — From Center to the Margins

3rd week of Advent, Friday – 20th December 2019 — Gospel: Lk 1,26-38

From Center to the Margins

Luke’s habit of pairing off persons and episodes is nowhere more evident than in the infancy stories. The main pairing is between the episodes dealing with the infancy of John the Baptist and those dealing with Jesus. It is to be noted that against the annunciation to Zechariah, the features of Gabriel’s annunciation to Mary stand out more powerfully. The story moves from the center to the margins. While the high religious official and a senior priest exercised his function at the very center of national life, now we have a young woman in a remote village in Galilee. To Zechariah the angel simply “appeared” and told him not to be afraid. Here the angel Gabriel, who had been “sent by God” to Mary, opens a dialogue with an elaborate respectful greeting (1,28). Further the angel gives reassurance through double descriptions of the status and role of the child (1,32-33; 1,35). Towards the end, Mary receives an additional information and a sign from the angel (1,36-37), which prepares her to believe and to act instantly. Her response, unlike that of Zechariah, is more than adequate that unfolds divine power. In this young woman of Nazareth, we find a first generous response of those who are on the margins, and to whom God’s grace reaches out in support.