Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mary:The Ultimate Mom by Linden Malki

Mary has captured the imagination of the Church throughout its history. We have the description of her receiving an astonishing visit from an angel; prophecies from Zechariah, Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna, a visit from shepherds with a unique story, and a visit from travelers from far away who had seen a prophecy in the heavens. Twelve years later, she confronted a young man who was more concerned with the ultimate bar-mitzvah in the Temple than with his family's return to Nazareth, explaining that He was about His Father's business in His Father's House. When they were at a wedding and the host ran out of wine, she knew He could take care of it. Luke says that she kept all these things in her mind and pondered them.

He must have been a challenging child to raise! The writer of Hebrews says that He was deliberately made like us, that He was tempted in the same ways that we are tempted , but was without sin. I see this as being a normal kid, with the most enthusiasm and curiosity we can imagine; seeing the world that He had known from the Creator's point of view, but seeing it from the bottom up, like we see it. Any of us who have survived raising teenagers can just imagine raising this one--bright, active, enthusiastic, hardworking, being tempted but unlike our kids, never falling off the edge into real trouble. How would you like to have been his yeshiva teachers? But still, His Nazareth neighbors didn't remember Him as anything out of the ordinary.

But Mary knew better. The other kids in the family didn't know what to make of Him--they had seen Him do surprising and impressive things, but they taunted Him--"If you can do all these things, go down to the next celebration in Jerusalem and show off what you can do!" , but we are told that they still didn't believe He was anything special. (John 7) At one point, they thought He was a nut case, (Mark 3:21) and even Mary came with them to take Him home.

It took the Resurrection for them to understand. John tells us that she was there at what they all thought was the end of the story, but also at its transformation to the most significant day in history. She and her family were part of that group that waiting in prayer for the next act in the drama. Church tradition describes her as being with the disciples as she is taken to meet Her Son for eternity. We can look at her and see the very first person transformed by the presence of Jesus in her life.

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