Though we take again the themes of Matthew and Mark, the Gospel of Luke is an original composition under many aspects.
The Evangelist inserts into his narrative new material in regard to the other Gospel narratives. In the first two chapters which deal with the infancy of Jesus, Luke follows the Jewish tradition, with many direct and indirect references to the Old Testament. The Theology, the symbolism and the whole of the account of the infancy of Jesus have and find their roots in the Semitic world, different in many verses from the world and the Greek thought.
The Evangelist places the beginning of his narrative in the milieu of the ‘anawim, the poor of the Lord, that is, those who are submitted with altruism to God’s Will, firm in faith that the Lord will send them salvation in the opportune time. To the ‘anawim the Lord promises to send the Messiah, sent to bring the news to the afflicted, to soothe the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, release to those in prison, to proclaim a year of favour from Yahweh and a day of vengeance for our God, to comfort all who mourn, to give to Zion’s mourners…” (is 61, 1 ff).This promise of God is fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth who entering “into the Synagogue on the Sabbath day as he usually did” (Lk 4, 16) proclaims that the promise of God pronounced by Isaiah “has been fulfilled today” (Lk 4, 21) in him.
Only the ‘anawim can accept from the Son of Joseph, the carpenter and of Mary (Lk 4, 22; Mt 13, 53-58; Mk 6, 1-5; Jn 1, 45) the Good News of salvation, the others unfortunately are scandalized because of him. The Messiah is humble and sweet, “his mouth” pronounces “words of grace” (Lk 4, 22), and this is why in order to accept him it is necessary to prepare oneself, enter into oneself to accept the promised One of Israel. This is why the Lord admonishes by means of the Prophet: “Seek Yahweh, all you humble of the earth, who obey the commands. Seek uprightness, seek humility: you may perhaps find shelter, on the Day of Yahweh’s anger” (Zp 1, 3).
In this context, “In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a Virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary” (Lk 1, 26-27). This Virgin is one of the ‘anawim to whom the Lord reveals his salvation. With her are found two other ‘anawim “ who were advanced in years” (Lk 1, 7), “a priest called “Zechariah” and “Elizabeth who was childless” and therefore had no children (Lk 1, 5-7). Also to these two dishonoured (Gen 30, 33; I Sam 1, 5-8); 2 Sam 6, 23; Ho 9, 11) the salvation of the Lord is announced. Unfortunately in Jerusalem, in the temple, during the liturgy, place of the revelation, of the power and of the glory of God, this Good News was not accepted by the priest (Lk 1, 8-23)
. But the Word of God is not bound and it cannot be limited. In fact, the Holy One of Israel says: “For as the rain and the snow come down from the sky and do not return before watering the earth, fertilizing it and making it germinate to provide seed for the sower and food to eat, so it is with the word that goes from my mouth: it will not return to me unfulfilled or before having carried out my good pleasure and having achieved what it was sent to do”. (Is 55, 10-11). This is why Elizabeth “in her old age has conceived a son and, she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God”. (Lk 1, 36-37). This will be the event offered to Mary as a sign of the “power of the Most High”. (Lk 1, 35) which will come down upon her like a shadow to conceive the Son of God through the Holy Spirit who will “descend” upon her (Lk 1, 34-35). The Son will be named Jesus, “He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end” (Lk 1, 31-33). These words of the angel echo or evoke the same addressed to Acaz: “The Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold: the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, whom she will call Immanuel” (Is 7, 14).
That is why after John was conceived, that is “in the sixth month” (Lk 1, 26) the Good News was received “in a city of Galilee, called Nazareth” (Lk 1, 26) by a young girl, a “virgin promised spouse” (Lk 1, 27). “Nazareth” and “Mary” are in contrast with “Jerusalem” and “priest”; just as the phrase: “he went in” with the word “temple”. the Lord reveals himself in humble places and is accepted by humble people from whom, in the judgment of men, “nothing good can come” (Jn 1, 45). Mary is invited to rejoice: “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Lk 1, 28). The presence of the Lord in the midst of his people is the occasion of joy because the presence of the Lord bears salvation and blessing. The invitation of the angel is addressed to the whole People of God in the person of Mary. That is why, the whole People of God is called to rejoice, to be glad in the Lord, their Saviour. It is the Messianic joy which is announced to all: “Cry out and shout for joy, you who live in Zion, for the Holy One of Israel is among you in his greatness”(Is 12, 6); “Rejoice, exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! Yahweh has repealed your sentence; he has turned your enemy away. Yahweh is king among you, Israel, you have nothing more to fear…” (Zp 3, 14-15 ff); “Rejoice, exult daughter of Zion, because, behold, I come to live among you” (Zc 2, 14).
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