#52 COMPASSIONATE MOTHER

Mary2.jpg

“…Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5)

Introduction

I believe that another reason we are often confused about devotion to Mary is because we have a poor understanding of Family and the role of a Mother in the household. We call God “Father”. And Christ is our brother because he taught us to pray, “Our Father” (Mt 6:9). He also calls each of us to behold our mother (Jn 19:27). If we see our relationship with God and the saints as a family affair, we will come to appreciate our faith in God more deeply and how much he wants us to be a part of his divine household.

Adventure Time

Ideas about Mary fill the pages of Scripture from the beginning of the first book through to the end of the last. She was there, in God’s plan, from the beginning of time, just as the apostles were, and the Church, and the Saviour, and she will be there at the moment everything is fulfilled. Still her motherhood is a discovery waiting to be made.

In Scripture, there are only a handful of passages referring to motherhood, matriarchy and maternity. This contrasts with the hundreds of citations about fatherhood, patriachy and paternity. What is wrong with this picture? Perhaps motherhood is so little understood and appreciated because mothers are so close to us. Infants, for example, do not even understand that Mother is a separate entity until they are several months old. Some researchers say that children don’t fully come to this realisation until they are weaned. It is admissible that we may never be able to distance ourselves psychically from our mothers, except of course, you don’t have a first hand experience of a mother. But I doubt that very much. We shall speak about motherhood in details later. For now, we must catch up on one motherly trait that we see in Mary – loving concern for the welfare of others.

Oh Woman!

The stage is set for Jesus’ first public sign. He arrives at the wedding feast with His mother and His disciples. A wedding celebration, in the Jewish culture of the time, normally lasted about a week. Yet we find, at this wedding, that the wine ran out very early. At which point, Jesus’ mother points out the obvious to her Son: “They have no wine” (Jn 2:3). It is a simple statement of fact. But Jesus seems to respond in a way that is far out of proportion to His mother’s simple observation. “O woman,” he says, “what have you to do with Me? My hour has not yet come” (Jn 2:4).

In order to understand Jesus’ seeming overreaction, we need to understand the phrase “what have you to do with me?” Bear in mind that after the brief chit-chat between them, Jesus fulfills the request He infers from Mary’s observation. If He intended to reproach her, he surely would not have followed His reproach by complying with her request. A commentary note in the New American Bible on this verse tells us that “Woman” is a polite and normal form of address and not a way of putting someone down.

Some people make a case about Jesus’ choice of words. “What have you to do with me?” It has two connotations. It is a Hebrew expression of denial of common interest (cf. Hosea 14:8,9; 2Kg 3:13). The expression is also used to express permissiveness. The expression was also used by a man possessed by a demon to address Jesuus and acknowledge his authority over the man and the demon. “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” “I beseech you, do not torment me,” he continues, thereby affirming that he must carry out whatever Jesus commands (Lk 8:28; Mk 5:7).

At Cana Jesus defers to His mother, though she never commands Him. She, in turn, merely tells the servants, “Do whatever He tells you”. Some saints and spiritual writers see in Mary’s action at the Wedding in Cana, a display of a high degree of charity. “So great was Mary’s charity when on earth,” Saint Alphonsus Ligouri says, “that she succoured the needy without even being asked; as was the case at the marriage feast of Cana when she told her Son that family’s distress: ‘They have not wine’”. Since goodness is always worthy of emulation, we should imitate Mary’s loving concern for others.

Ours for the Asking

John the Evangelist as well as the spiritual writers are pointing to the fact that this woman knows the way to her son’s heart. And we should take advantage of it. Mary for her part is not presumptuous of her Son’s kindly nature and tells us to approach him after she has alerted him to our request. Mary is clearly not our mediatrix with God the Father but she is our mediatrix with her Son. It will be presumptuous of us to think that we can ask Jesus for anything by our own strength. Jesus is God and the prayer of a sinner is an abomination before God (Prov 15:8). You stand a better chance brokering a deal with his mother, who incidentally is your mother too. Anyone who grew up in a home knows that a mother has a special key that unlocks the heart of any member of the family.

The functional home, with a Father, Mother and children (and even extended family members), is the closest analogy we have to the inner dynamism of our relationship to God and the saints (cf. Eph 2:19). God is our Father, Jesus is our Big Brother and Mary is our Mother. Her place in God’s household is undeniable.  I like to quote Scott Hahn as a way of closing this piece. He says that, “The breakaway Christian churches that diminish Mary’s role inevitably end up feeling like a bachelor’s apartment: masculine to a fault; orderly but not homey; functional and productive—but with little sense of beauty and poetry.”

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11 thoughts on “#52 COMPASSIONATE MOTHER

  1. Jesus does not call ‘ each of us ‘ to behold our mother at all.
    He calls on Apostle John to do this.

    You are twisting the Scripture out of shape.
    You have no understanding of the Scriptures. #KJV

    Mary is NOT an intercessor.
    she is never described as mediatrix, mediator in the Bible, and is never referred to as the mother of God.

    • Thanks for your intervention but I can see that you read the Bible literally basically. There are other ways to understand the words of scripture. I will highlight this in a later post. Keep reading. What you should take to heart for now is that the scriptures (the Gospels especially) were written out of the lived experience of the first Christians and at the time, Mary had a prominent place in their lives. And although the gospels are not primarily about her, the Evangelists did not hesitate to point out that she had an important place in the Church. Thanks once more for your comment.

  2. Again, you are attempting to embed things into the scripture, that is actually not said in the Scriptures, which is typically catholic of you.

    Please do try to stick to the plain text of gods Word where possible.
    The fact that you are a catholic tells me, that you do not know Jesus Christ, and have no relationship with him, or you would not be a part of that cult.

    I think you need to desist from juggling the plain intent of Scripture, and it’s meaning.
    I dont know everything, before you accuse me of that..

    I do know that you, or at least this posting about mary, is false teaching and Blasphemy.!!

    • Thanks once more for your submission. I like the part of admitting you don’t know everything. But you admit a little less than is actually true. First, Catholicism is not a “cult” it is the Church (which makes me question what every other person is doing). History supports this claim too. Secondly, you are right that there is a Catholic interpretation of Scripture that does not take the text of scripture at face value. The fact that we see beyond what is written to the endless connections that are made between Old and New Testaments makes me believe that we have a better appreciation of Scripture. This calls to question your claim that we, or at least I, don’t have a relationship with Christ. I don’t mean to brag but you need to have above average knowledge to be able to see more than just disjointed bodies of text when you read the Scriptures. What you consider “juggling” is actually the right way to read Scripture: God from all eternity willed our salvation and Mary had a role in it, just as you and I have our part to play today. So rather than belly ache about what is said and what is deduced, we do ourselves a lot more good by focusing on what is important; we have been saved by Christ. We are God’s children. We are co-heirs with Christ to God’s kingdom, where the saints (Mary too) have gone before us and we are soon to follow. Speaking about Mary is not blasphemy. Leaving her out of the beautiful picture of our salvation is a blasphemy.

      • The fact that you say mary had a role in salvation tells me, in no uncertain terms that you are totally deceived.

        I see the connections between old and new testament,I see the underlying meaning, that can only come with discernment..
        You need discernment mister.. and obviously a much clearer view of Gods word than you, simply because I am not catholic.

        YOU are JUGGLING mister,,
        Your putting words into Scripture that are not there.
        Mary is NOT the mother of all Christians,she is NOT a mediator / Mediatrix, and you need to get a reality check up, and understand this.

        I do not see disjointed bodies of text at all thank you… 🙂

        thank you for your Arrogant Presumption,regarding what I do and do not do..

        YOU WOULD NOT KNOW…

        You on the other hand have made it perfectly clear what your doing with biblical text,,you are twisting it out of shape..

        It was John that was told, behold this is your mother etc…
        not all the disciples..

        And in the Epistles, we read very little indeed regarding mary..

        You are a deceived mariolator mister, and you need to acknowledge your sin,blasphemy, and get saved, Ask the Lord Jesus Christ into your life, if you dare..

        Mary did not die a Virgin you know.
        She was not sinless either.
        You really need to get hold of a proper bible, and please dont feel ashamed when you realize that the catholic so called church has deceived you.
        Repent of your false teaching.
        So called prayer to mary is not in the Scripture..Mary is dead, and so attempting to communicate with the dead is actually Necromancy.
        Ask the Lord Jesus Christ into your life.
        Become a christian.

      • No offence,,becaue iI am beginning to like you,,but one word I would like to introduce you to taday is

        ‘Paragraph ‘.
        🙂
        It makes things so much easier to read.

      • Sorry about that. I was typing directly into the reply box. You know that feeling you get when you think if you hit the enter button it will post your comment before you finish writing. That was what happened. Sorry about that.

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