Today’s Gospel Lesson begins by telling us that Mary “set out, proceeding in haste, into the hill country to a town in Judah, where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth” (Lk.1:39). The story of Mary’s journey comes immediately after her response to the angel who told her she was to be the mother of the Son of God. “I am the servant of the Lord,” she said. “Let it be done to me as you say” (Lk.1:38). Mary’s response is the model for our response to the Grace of God.
When Mary arrives at Zechariah’s house, she greets Elizabeth, Luke tells us. We are not given the words of greeting but we may assume that it was the normal greeting in the Middle East: “Shalom.” Literally, “shalom” means “peace.” In its full meaning it is a profound expression of concern that the person greeted will experience wholeness of life. The word is important to Mary’s story because of what it symbolizes in the…
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