Opinion: Jesus and Mary: It's complicated - CNN
This is question "What was the relationship between Jesus and Mary and had been with Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the other women. And secondly, St. Joseph must have recognized the special relationship between Jesus the Messiah and Mary, his mother. It is likely Joseph felt some distance. Jay Parini says the relationship between perhaps the most revered mother and son had serene beginnings but had the complexities found in.
On the fortieth day he was taken to the temple, and given to God.
Jesus and Mary: It's complicated
Then it was that another reminder of the glory of this child was given to the mother. An old man, Simeon, took the infant in his arms, and spoke of him as God's salvation. As he gave the parents his parting blessing he lifted the veil, and showed them a glimmering of the future. The shadow of the cross rested on Mary's soul all the years.
Every time she rocked her baby to sleep, and laid him down softly, covering his face with kisses, there would come into her heart a pang as she remembered Simeon's words. Perhaps, too, words from the old prophets would come into her mind, -- "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows;" "He was bruised for our iniquities," -- and the tears would come welling into her eyes.
Every time she saw her child at play, full of gladness, all unconscious of any sorrow awaiting him, a nameless fear would steal over her as she remembered the ominous words which had fallen upon her ear, and which she could not forget.
Soon after the presentation in the temple came the visit of the magi. Again the mother must have wondered as she heard these strangers from the East speak of her infant boy as the "King of the Jews," and saw them falling down before him in reverent worship, and then laying their offerings at his feet. Immediately following this came the flight into Egypt.
How the mother must have pressed her child to her bosom as she fled with him to escape the cruel danger! By and by they returned, and from that time Nazareth was their home. Only once in the thirty years do we have a glimpse of mother and child. It was when Jesus went to his first Passover. When the time came for returning home the child tarried behind. After a painful search the mother found him in one of the porches of the temple, sitting with the rabbis, an eager learner. There is a tone of reproach in her words, "Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us?
All the years before this her son had implicitly obeyed her. He had never resisted her will, never withdrawn from her guidance. Now he had done something without asking her about it -- as it were, had taken his life into his own hand. It was a critical point in the friendship of this mother and her child. It is a critical moment in the friendship of any mother and her child when the child begins to think and act for himself, to do things without the mother's guidance.
The answer of Jesus is instructive: He was the Son of God as well as the son of Mary. Parents should remember this always in dealing with their children, -- their children are more God's than theirs. It is interesting to notice what follows that remarkable experience of mother and child in the temple. Jesus returned with his mother to the lowly Nazareth home, and was subject to her.
In recognizing his relation to God as his heavenly Father, he did not become any less the child of his earthly mother.
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He loved his mother no less because he loved God more. Obedience to the Father in heaven did not lead him to reject the rule of earthly parenthood.
He went back to the quiet home, and for eighteen years longer found his Father's business in the common round of lowly tasks which made up the daily life of such a home.
It would be intensely interesting to read the story of mother and son during those years, but it has not been written for us. They must have been years of wondrous beauty. Few things in this world are more beautiful than such friendships as one sometimes sees between mother and son.
The boy is more the lover than the child. The two enter into the closest companionship. A sacred and inviolable intimacy is formed between them. The boy opens all his heart to his mother, telling her everything; and she, happy woman, knows how to be a boy's mother and to keep a mother's place without ever startling or checking the shy confidences, or causing him to desire to hide anything from her.
The boy whispers his inmost thoughts to his mother, and listens to her wise and gentle counsels with loving eagerness and childish faith -- "Her face his holy skies; The air he breathes his mother's breath, His stars his mother's eyes. Some mothers do not think it worth while to give the time and thought necessary to enter into a boy's life in such confidential way.
But we may be sure that between the mother of Jesus and her son the most tender and intimate friendship existed. He opened his soul to her; and she gave him not a mother's love only, but also a mother's wise counsel and strong, inspiring sympathy. It is almost certain that sorrow entered the Nazareth home soon after the visit to Jerusalem. Joseph is not mentioned again; and it is supposed that he died, leaving Mary a widow.
On Jesus, as the eldest son, the care of the mother now rested. Knowing the deep love of his heart and his wondrous gentleness, it is easy for us to understand with what unselfish devotion he cared for his mother after she was widowed.
He had learned the carpenter's trade; and day after day, early and late, he wrought with his hands to provide for her wants. Thus each was able to be united in marriage. Mary gave her Son, Jesus to His bride, the Church.
In the Temple, when Jesus was twelve, Mary accepted her responsibility of being mother and brought Him home with her to Nazareth.
At Cana, although retaining her authority as mother, Mary gave Jesus to the world which was waiting in darkness for Him Who is the Light of the world.
One other Gospel incident of the relationship between Jesus and Mary, which I have found to be greatly misunderstood, occurs in the three Synoptic Gospels Mk 3: In this scene Jesus is sitting with a group of his disciples. His mother and relatives are waiting outside to speak with Him. When Jesus is told of this He responds, "Here are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father is my brother, sister and mother. The other side of this misinterpretation is that He saw those with Him as being more important than His mother.
Nothing could be further from the truth! Jesus, who is the fulfilment of the Law, could hardly sin against the fourth Commandment to honour your father and mother. Also, we know something of the depth of relationship between Him and His mother from the events at Cana that would belie any denigration of her.
It would seem more reasonable to conclude these relatives pressed Mary to come with them on their ill-conceived mission to take charge of Jesus. The passage about the relatives thinking Jesus was crazy is excluded from Matthew and Luke thus clearing some of the confusion about Mary's role there. These latter two evangelists, also, generally give us a fuller development of Mary's role in the Gospel.
What Jesus, in fact, did, when He compared the disciples to His mother, was to elevate those who do the will of the Father to the status of brother, sister and even mother. The presence of His mother gave Jesus an opportunity to teach this wonderful truth to His disciples. Another similar incident occurs in Luke Yes, Mary was blessed to conceive and bear Jesus but she is more blessed to have conceived Him spiritually, that is, "still happier are those who hear the Word of God and keep it Lk Since Mary followed the will of the Father in keeping the Word of God in her heart she is an example for all believing Christians to meditate on the Gospels.
The Gospel does not say what Jesus did after He made the statement about those who do the will of the Father being brother, sister and mother to Him. Did He ignore His mother and relatives and go on teaching, or after making use of this teachable moment did He go to them? Knowing a little bit of the relationship between Him and Mary and Jesus' own graciousness, what do you think He did? There are many levels at which we can look at this passage, but from the perspective of the relationship between Mary and Jesus, we can see a caring for her worldly needs for which He has been responsible to this point and with His imminent death He confers on John.
I would say the same about Jesus' last words, "It is finished. Let me conclude this section on the relationship between Jesus and Mary by again reiterating that for us to come to a true understanding of Mary's role, we need to take time to meditate on her in the light of the whole of Scripture and in so doing come to find and know Jesus more surely and completely.
Without seeing Him in the light of this mother-son relationship we will not have a complete knowledge of Jesus. In fact, we could easily fall into seeing Jesus as a hard, distant and aloof judge who dispassionately goes about His mission or as an abstract Being far beyond the weaknesses and needs of human beings.
He is, in fact, a most gentle, loving and compassionate Person to which His relationship to Mary gives testimony and which confirms our hope in His mercy.
It seems to me that Catholics and Protestants, who have experienced and encourage a personal relationship with Jesus, experience the gentleness of the Lord, and should also want to share in His relationship with His mother. Those who draw near or perhaps more correctly, those whom the Lord draws near to His mother, Mary, will grow in this gentleness, tenderness and peace. On the other hand, the spirit that motivates those who rail against devotion to Mary is the same spirit that will distort the gentle, loving and merciful Jesus to a wrathful God ready to destroy the rebellious.
We can see that the mercy of the Son of God, the Son of Mary, is without limit in the following passages: This, of course, is not to say all those who say Lord, Lord Mt will be saved but only those who call on God from their heart, in sincere repentance for their sins and desire to do the will of God.
All these will be saved. I am not suggesting that to have a true and deep relationship with Jesus we absolutely need Mary. I am just saying that with Mary we more surely and easily come to a true relationship with Jesus. I do find it difficult to imagine how a person could come to a full relationship with Jesus without having a loving relationship with, Mary, His mother.
Let me encourage you in concluding this chapter to seek a true relationship with Mary the mother of our Lord. We do not need to be afraid to follow Jesus in the example He gives us in having a relationship with His mother, Mary. Searching for three frantic days, at last they find him in Herod's great Temple, among a group of elders, who are amazed by his knowledge of the scriptures.
When Mary questions him about his behavior, Jesus replies somewhat testily: Didn't you know I must be about my Father's business? He was smart, perhaps a bit sassy.
As the only glimpse we get of Jesus before the age of 30, it's a telling instance, however. Flash forward 20 years or so, when Jesus begins his ministry in Galilee.
His family, however, doesn't seem happy. He is, for a start, attracting large crowds. He goes about healing people, casting out demons.