It was time for Mary to head back home after staying three months at her cousin, Elizabeth’s house. Mary had to go home to an uncertain future.
If you read the Scriptures after this verse in Luke, the next time we see Mary is in Chapter 2 when she was about to give birth. I’m about to commit some heresy and assert that this tale was definitely written by a guy, because we see an “obedient” Mary dutifully going along for the ride. She even burst out in song! However, I see more to Mary than what we’re fed in Sunday School.
Mary was probably wondering about the future back home. What treatment would her people give her when she starts to show (something tells me at this point Mary’s wrapping up the first trimester)? What would Joseph her fiancee say? What would Mary’s community say? God knows Mary’s going to be the subject of a whole lot of shit-let’s tell it like it is. Mary was a teenage girl in First Century CE Judea, not exactly a progressive time and place for women and girls.
As she took the journey home, Mary probably felt the stares of fellow travelers. If she showed-without husband present-the stares were more pronounced. Yes, she heard the angel Gabriel’s announcement about her future child, Jesus and all he would be. For Mary, that was all well and good. However, how would she fare? It’s not like today where Mary could apply for government benefits like here in the US (and probably today’s Israel too), then have Jesus in a hospital’s maternity ward. Mary was on her own.
Today, many of us are like Mary, facing an uncertain future. People across the planet are uncertain about our climate’s future after the recent Paris conference. Refugees fleeing war-torn Syria are uncertain about their future and their life away from home. Survivors of terrorist attacks are uncertain about their safety as they again venture out into public spaces. People of color in America are uncertain about their future rights as racist cops inflict unjust (and often deadly) force on them. Women in America are in good company with Mary as their future as self-directed individuals come under patriarchal attack at various levels. People are uncertain about their financial future as Wall Street and international banksters play fast and loose with their money.
We don’t know what the future will bring; and contrary to biblical belief, neither did Mary as she returned home. And waiting on an uncertain future is hard for all of us. However, even in the waiting, we must still go forward to face our future…
…Like Mary did. Peace.