At the School of Mary and Elizabeth
The evangelist Luke is skilled at describing encounters. The first two chapters are filled with special meetings involving the angel Gabriel (1:8-23, 26-38), other angels (2:8-20) or the Holy Spirit (2:25-35). The meeting between Mary and Elizabeth is of a different status with no angels in attendance. Unfortunately, this meeting, popularly known as the Visitation, is often misunderstood. Many assume that Mary rushes to Elizabeth’s side to assist her in the final stages of pregnancy. This assumption falters given that Mary departs before the birth. Furthermore, the figures of Zechariah and Mary are so prominent in the first chapter, that Elizabeth’s role tends to be overlooked. The revelatory encounter of the two women is the consequence of divine intervention and the result of the positive response of both women to the action of God in their lives. A careful tracing of their personal stories is in order.