- MARY, JESUS´ MOTHER

Created: Wednesday, 26 June 2013 Last Updated: Saturday, 31 August 2013

MARY, JESUS´ MOTHER


1. -      How does Mary appear in the evangels?  In Saint John’s evangel the mother of Jesus appears, without mentioning her name, at the beginning and at the end: in the wedding of Cana (Jn 2,5) and near the cross (19, 25). In all the other passages, out of the evangel of the infancy, Mary appears little and, when she does, it is said that what is meaningful is not the human relationship, but the listening of God’s word. Once that Jesus was talking to the people, a woman raised her voice and said: Blessed is the one who bore you and nursed you. Jesus replied: Surely blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it (Lk 11, 27 – 28).
2. - Maternity is certainly a crucial step in the life of the woman. It is the first relationship established in a unique and exclusive way with another human being and that is inside her. In this matter, Jesus says: what really counts is neither the familiar relationship, nor the biologic relationship or the maternity, but the relationship with God, the listening of God’s word. But, is this not what Mary did? That is what Saint Luke’s evangel tells us, presenting her like a model of disciple: I am the servant of the Lord (Lk 1,38). If she would not have listened the word, she would not either be Jesus´ mother. Of course, in Nazareth Mary was patiently knitting Jesus´ human language, like any woman teaches to speak to her child.
3. - When Jesus, twelve years old, abandoned his parents to appear three days later sitting among the teachers  his mother told him: Son, why have you done this to us?. Don’t you realize that your father and I have been full of sorrow while searching for you? (Lk 2, 48).  It is the awakening of his vocation (2, 49) but it is also the process of a child coming out of the skirts of his mother, according with the development’s psychology: “With the pass of time, the development of the personality of the boy and the girl follows different ways: feminine identity grows from a process of identification with the mother. On the other side, the boys in their assertion like males, set their mothers apart from themselves. Mother’s intimacy and proximity is lived like a kind of retrocession that looks menacing (Carol Gilligan)
4. -      Had Jesus any brothers or sisters?. Other Christian confessions say that he had. Church’s tradition calls Mary the “always virgin” (LG 52). Catholic Church Catechism says that “objections are made to this assertion, following the mentions of the Scriptures to some Jesus´ brothers and sisters” (see Mk 3.31- 55; 6, 3; 1Co 9,5; Gal 1,19). The Church has always assumed these commentaries like not referred to other children or the Virgin Mary; in this sense, James and Joseph, “Jesus´ brothers” (Mt 13,55) are the sons of Mary a Christ’s  disciple (Mt27,56) designated in a meaningful way like “the other Mary”(Mt 28,1). They are talking about family next to Jesus, according to a well known Old Testament expression (see Gn 13,8;14,16; 28,15)(n.500). In any case, it is would be not a shame but a God’s blessing (Ps 128,4) to see Jesus surrounded by “brothers who mature in the centre of a mutual influence” (X. Picaza). The Gospel tells us that Jesus was the firstborn (Lk 2,7) and suggests a normal marriage relationship between Mary and Joseph, after Jesus´ birth. “So she gave birth to a son and he had not had marital relations with her.” (Mt 1,25).
5. -      Jesus places the new family of those who listen the Word , above the family relationship. This influences the relationship with Mary and with other family members. In certain occasion, they tell him: Listen, your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside asking for you. Jesus replies: Who are my mother and my brothers? And looking around at those who were sitting around he said: Here are my mother and my brothers, Whoever does God’s will is brother, and sister and mother to me (Mk 3,33- 35).
6.-       It is wonderfully said: “Mary knew how to keep the Word” (Lk 2,151) and to accept silently situations that she did not understand (Lk 2,50). She knew how to stand back without saying anything, opened to the novelty that Jesus considered “ mother and brother” to all those who listened his word (Lk 8,21) and she also knew to stand silently near the cross because in that place the definitive love was near of the faithful love carried out to the end (Jn 19- 25). But she knew too how to discern when was the time to ask (Lk 1,34; 2,48) and when was the time to intervene and to persuade. “They have no wine ….. Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2, 4-5). She, who stayed near Jesus  more time than anybody else, witnessed in a contemplative silence the blossoming of his personality and the first steps of that strangely free life. She learned to lose the fear to disappear and to wear out herself like the salt and like the light (Mt 5, 13-16) (Dolores Aleixandre)

7. -      In Jesus´ mission, Mary disappears, or, at least, she stays in the back. Saint Mathew and Saint Luke smooth a little the tension between mother and son and, with the family and relatives too. At the end, they perceive that Mary has embraced the Word from the beginning. But Saint Mark is more critical, and he also says that his relatives are looking for him because “he is out of his mind” (Mk 3-21). It is to say that problems are detected in the relationship with the family, with the relatives, with no further precision. The family does not understand Jesus´ mission. Family and relatives position is very near of the teachers of the Law position, of course, the scribes have worse intention. They say, “He is under the power of Beelzebub” (3,22). So, the family carries on their own war against Jesus´ mission, although it is different from that of the scribes. In Saint John´ evangel it is affirmed: “Even his brothers do not believe in him”(Jn 7, 5)
8. -      And, what happens in the cross? The synoptic evangels say that in the cross, perhaps to accomplish what the Psalm says, the relatives (globally) stay far off (Lk 23, 49; see Ps 38,12; Mt 27,55; Mk15,46). But Saint John presents Mary with the loved disciple near the cross. Afterwards, Mary does not appear in any resurrection experience. It is possible that the pain for Jesus death did not allow her to feel the signals of the resurrection, following the sentence “and if you weep the losing of the sun, the tears can hide to you the light of the stars” (Tagore). The truth is that Mary, like a mother, appears near the cross and, so, with the unique pain of a mother (Lam 1,12), like a sword piercing her soul (Lk 2, 35), Jesus tells her “woman this is your son” (Jn 19, 26; see Mk 10,30). Jesus invites Mary to carry out another maternity in the community of the loved disciple, she is invite to step forward in the faith, to be mother in other not biological way: there you have a son born from the heart.
9. -      Later on Mary appears at the beginning of the Acts of  the Apostles, in prayer with the disciples, in community to ask for the gift of the spirit: All of these together gave themselves to constant prayer, with the same spirit and with them there were some women and also Mary, the mother of Jesus and his brothers (Acts 1,14). And inside the community, in Pentecost, the wonders of God are shared (Act 2, 11) and the newly born Church sings the greatness of God, in the spirit’s language, which is the language of the experience. Like Mary in the Magnificat, we also sing the greatness of God.
10. - Pope Pio the IX declared The Immaculate Conception dogma in 1854. Mary is full of grace (Lk 1,28) enemy of the evil (Gn 3,15) from her conception. The Assumption dogma was declared by Pope Pio XII  in 1950: “Once finished the course of her life in the earth, she was taken to the glory of heavens”. (LG 59). Mary is already resurrected and she lives in plenitude. But, like Mary, many others too. The Lord says: I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, through he dies, shall live (Jn 11,25). But Mary has a special dignity: “People for ever will call me blessed” (Lk 1, 48). Her reception of the word influenced the salvation of all the human beings. She is the mother of my Lord. (Lk 1,43). Ephesus council (year 431) called her mother of God. In the Church she is invocated like Lawyer, Assistant, Helper, Mediator (LG 62). Her mediation “does neither decrease nor darkens the unique Christ mediation, but, on the contrary, it shows its efficiency” (LG 60).
* Dialogue: How does Mary appear in the evangels? How does she appear today?