Mary in the New Testament
Mary is referred to 137 times in the New Testament. She is in all of the Gospels (Matthew chapters 1 and 2; Mark 3:31-35, 6:3; Luke 1 and 2; John 2 and 19) and in the Acts of the Apostles (1:14). The Gospel of John calls her “the mother of Jesus” and “his (Jesus’) mother” (Jn 2:1-12; 19:25-27).
Mary, a Woman of Faith
In the hectic situations that Mary faced daily, her faith sustained her. Mary’s world radically changed when the angel Gabriel appeared to her saying: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” (Lk 1:28) (Some biblical translations render it, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”) Understandably, Mary was “greatly troubled.” Luke’s Gospel tells us that Mary is not startled by the angel’s greeting but more by his message. First, the angel says, “Hail, full of grace.” No one else in the Bible has ever been honored by an angel with such an exalted title. Second, the angel says, “The Lord is with you!” Often in the Old Testament the words, “the Lord is with you” signal that someone is being called to a daunting task.
Mary the Mother of God
Next, the angel Gabriel gets to the heart of the message and the nature of Mary’s vocation. Mary will bear a son. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Lk 1:31-33). Mary is to be the mother of the Messiah (the anointed one of God). Mary thus becomes a tabernacle of God’s presence dwelling with God’s people. She is the new Ark of the Covenant in whose womb dwells Jesus, the incarnate presence of God.