Advent Reflection for Today
The Two Mothers
According to Plato, “The beginning is the most important part of the work,” so it is appropriate that the Gospel of Luke begins not with the accounts of John the Baptist nor Jesus, but with the stories of their mothers, Elizabeth and Mary. Elizabeth, advanced in age, is told by God that she will have a son, and she faithfully accepts the shocking news as a blessing. Unbeknownst to Elizabeth, her cousin Mary received a similar message from Angel Gabriel himself, who proclaimed to Mary, “Hail favored one! The Lord is with you.” Although confused and unsure, Mary also faithfully accepts God’s calling.
When the cousins meet later in the narrative, the child in Elizabeth’s womb leaps, and Elizabeth exclaims, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Thus, Luke also provides us with the opening words of the first prayer that many of us learned as children. The beginning of the “The Hail Mary”, when observed in the context of Luke’s gospel, demonstrates the faith and courage of the two mothers: one very young and the other quite old. It is fitting that those words have come to inspire the hopes of all mothers in times of happiness, angst, or turmoil. Mary and Elizabeth are examples of the glory possible when we are open and willing to faithfully accept the calling of God.