Luke 1 : 21-34

21 Meanwhile, the people kept waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed in the sanctuary so long. 22 But when he did come out, he was unable to speak to them. Then they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them but remained unable to speak. 23 When the days of his service were over, he went home.

24 After this,[a] his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and remained in seclusion for five months. She said, 25 “This is what the Lord did for me when he looked favorably on me and took away my public disgrace.”

The Birth of Jesus is Foretold

26 Now in the sixth month of her pregnancy,[b] the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant[c] of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel[d] came to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you!”[e] 29 Startled by his statement, she tried to figure out what his greeting meant.

30 Then the angel told her, “Stop being afraid, Mary, because you have found favor with God. 31 Listen! You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.”

34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this happen, since I have not had relations with[f] a man?”

Eva, the first mother. In the Old Testament, she is mentioned in the second creation account: As a woman who God formed from a rib of the man. Eva is therefore considered to be the ancestral or original mother of human history. After the so-called fall of man, the man gives her the name Eva, which means “the life-giving” or “mother of life”. Eva becomes the mother of all people. Because Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge and were driven out of paradise, Eve should give birth to children in pain. In Genesis 3:16, God said to her: “I cause you a lot of trouble and you will often get pregnant. You give birth to children in pain.” Another passage in the Bible in Jesus Sirach 7:27 recalls this: “With all your heart honor your father and do not forget the contractions of the mother.”

Sara was the wife of Abraham and also the mother of Isaac. She was sterile until old age and no longer expected to have another son. Sara no longer fared the way women do, as the biblical narrative in Genesis 18:11 describes it. Sara, initially called Sarai, is considered one of the “archmothers of Israel”. With her 75-year-old husband Abraham and his nephew Lot, she moves to the land that God promised Abraham and will soon have to leave Egypt again because of a famine. There Abraham spends his beautiful wife as a sister so that the pharaoh does not kill him. In fact, the pharaoh takes Sara as his wife and presents the supposed brother with riches. However, after God intervenes, the fraud is discovered and the couple returns to the promised land. The childless Sara causes Abraham to father a child with her maid Hagar in order to “have a son through her”. A form of surrogacy. When Hagar becomes pregnant, however, there is a conflict between the women.

But Sara still had her own son, whom she called Isaac. So Sara explains the name in Genesis 21: 6: “God made me laugh; everyone who hears about it will laugh at me”. Sara saw the birth of a son in old age as a miracle and a special mercy from God. In Hebrews 11:11, this gift of late pregnancy is explained as follows: “Because of her faith, even Sara, who was sterile, received the strength to become a mother despite her age.” Here Sara’s strong faith is seen as a sign of her pregnancy. When Sara fears Isaac’s conflicts with Hagar’s son Ismael, she has the maid sent away. The triangle does not seem to work in the Bible. Sara dies at 127.

The story of the abandonment of her son Moses is a temporary solution for Jochebed. It was certainly not easy for her to let go of her son. But her cleverness saved her child. Aaron, the second son, became a significant priest who supported Moses and her daughter Miriam was a prophetess who could play the tambourine drum and lead the dance dance (Exodus 15:20): “All women went behind her with a bang and dance forth “. All three children were significant figures in the people of Israel. The story of Jochebed tells of a mother’s courage, her wisdom to save her own child under dangerous circumstances, and a great motherly love for her children.

Elisabeth is the mother of John the Baptist. According to the biblical account in the Gospel of Luke, she came from the Aarons priestly family. She was married to the priest Zacharias. The marriage remained childless for a long time, since Elisabeth was considered sterile and both spouses “were already at an advanced age” (Luke 1: 7). The angel Gabriel, however, predicted the birth of a son to her husband Zacharias (Luke 1:13), whom he should call John. Elisabeth soon became pregnant. The late pregnancy was definitely a miracle for her. Elisabeth was related to Maria, the mother of Jesus. When Elisabeth was six months pregnant, the two women met. As they greeted each other, Elisabeth could feel the child jumping in her stomach for joy. The Bible says it was fulfilled by the Holy Spirit. After the story in Luke 1:42, Elisabeth then exclaimed aloud: “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb” and calls Maria “the mother of my master”. According to the Bible, Maria stayed with Elisabeth for three months until the birth of her child. This was generally acceptable, especially because the older women in the family looked after and supported the younger ones. For Elisabeth, the birth of her son was a gift from God. The Bible says that John grew up and “grew strong in spirit”. This mother story shows the power of faith. Elisabeth believes in the spoken word and experiences the miracle of birth firsthand. God is merciful to her. The birth of her son Johannes marks a new beginning for her. John means “God is gracious” or “God has shown mercy”. John becomes a forerunner of Jesus and baptizes the son of Mary. The two mothers seem to have had an intimate relationship with each other, as did that of their two sons.

“And she gave birth to her first son, the firstborn, she wrapped him in diapers and put him in a crib.” (Luke 2.7)

Mary was the mother of Jesus. She was the virgin who was prophesied in the Old Testament that she would give birth to a son named Immanuel (Isaiah 7.14). Just as Christ is called the “new Adam”, so is Mary the “new Eve” and thus the archetype of the church. The New Testament reports that the angel Gabriel came to Mary to announce the conception of a son to whom she was to give the name “Jesus”, which means “God saves” (Luke 1:31). Maria wonders and asks the angel how this can be done because she “does not recognize a man” (Luke 1:34) and is a virgin. The angel’s answer refers to the work of God’s power: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child will also be called holy and the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). Mary trusts in God and the words of the angel, agrees to the plan of salvation and confesses: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; it will be done to me as you said it” (Luke 1:38). These words testify to a deep fear of God. This makes Mary the mother of God’s son, the promised Messiah.

The name of the mother of Jesus is not mentioned anywhere in the Gospel of John, but she appears twice as “Mother of Jesus”, in the story of the wedding in Cana in Galilee (John 2.1-12) and in the story of the Passion of Jesus under the cross (John 19.25-27). Both scriptures tell of a mother’s worries. Under the cross, Mary and other women witness the passion of Jesus. The picture with her dead son removed from the cross in her lap is an archetype of mourning. This so-called Pietá representation of Mary as a grieving mother symbolizes maternal pain. Maria is alone with her son’s body after the Descent from the Cross and her face is contorted with pain. The so-called “Mater Dolorosa”, the “painful mother”, also known as the pain mother, is a term used in the context of the veneration of Mary for the depiction of the pain of Mary and her lifelong concern for her son Jesus. Her pain feels like “a sword is piercing her soul” (Luke 2,35). With her grief, Mary may be a sign of comfort and hope for all mothers who have experienced great pain.