How does the Gospel of Luke depict Mary?

Luke’s Gospel has much more information about Mary than the other three do. He gives us a very intimate portrait of her, showing her initial surprise at the arrival of the angel Gabriel and her subsequent acceptance of her role as the Mother of the Savior. Luke also includes the story of Mary visiting her pregnant cousin Elizabeth, which gives us a rare glimpse into female friendship and familial support, and he alone has the beautiful “Magnificat,” Mary’s hymn of praise. In fact, Luke is the Gospel that features the most direct quotations from Mary herself. Luke also includes stories showing Mary’s life as a young mother: the Presentation in the Temple, when Simeon warns her of the suffering that she will experience, and the losing of Jesus in the Temple when he was twelve.

Luke’s portrayal of Mary shows her to be an active, faithful, thoughtful woman. She embraces God’s unexpected plan for her life. She puts aside her own comfort to visit her cousin. She celebrates the Jewish ritual of the Presentation of her son. She goes through the terror of temporarily losing Jesus. Luke also gives us the beautiful verse about how “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (2:19), which is a rare Scriptural look into the mind of a mother. By sharing these stories, Luke appears to emphasize the importance of Mary in God’s plan of salvation. Mary is not someone to mention in passing, but someone who exemplifies the conscious, active faith that we all strive to achieve.


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