Let us begin with the angel’s greeting to Mary. For Luke, this is the primordial cell of Mariology that God himself wished to present to us through his messenger, the Archangel Gabriel.
Translated literally, the greeting reads thus: “Rejoice, full of grace. The Lord is with you” (Lk 1:28). “Rejoice”: At first sight, this word appears to be no more than the formulaic greeting current in the Greek-speaking world, and tradition has consistently translated it as “hail”. But looked at against the background of the Old Testament, this formula of greeting takes on a more profound significance. Consider, in fact, that the same word used by Luke appears four times in the Septuagint, where in each case it is an announcement of messianic joy (Zeph 3:14; Joel 2:21; Zech 9:9; Lam 4:21).
This greeting marks the beginning of the Gospel in the strict sense; its first word is “joy”, the…
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