Monday, March 29, 2004

Who is Mary

Who was, who is Mary, mother of Jesus?

I've been thinking a lot about Mary since Thursday (March 25), celebrated as the Annunciation. There are areas of disagreement about her. She has been believed to be born free of the stain of original sin. Some believe she was whisked into heaven instead of dying a normal death.

The Gospel of Luke gives us the most compelling picture of Mary, alarmed at the appearance and words of the angel Gabriel, then accepting when she understood: "May it be to me as you have said." Then the Song of Mary.

The angel told her, "The Lord is with you." God, who always knew her, must have been with her, watching her closely, protecting her, preparing her all her short young life for the task ahead of her. And God, the master geneticist, must have worked through all her previous generations to bring into being the person with the qualities she would need.

She was the flesh of which Jesus was created. Mary, fully human, gave Jesus the part of him that was fully human. Her humanity was her gift to Jesus. This is the miraculous: Jesus Christ, fully divine, yet fully human. Son of God and son of Mary. It was her blood that coursed through his veins.

Mary loved Jesus with a mother's passion, a mother's protectiveness. She nurtured him to become what he was to become, then at one point, she took his brothers to bring him home, to keep him safe. Of course, she could not.

It was real blood that Jesus spilled on the way to the cross. It was the blood of Mary's blood; it was the corpuscles, the genetic material that was created when the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and caused the creation of Jesus. Exactly what mixture of DNA and Holy Spirit was combined there is a mystery. But he was her child and flesh of her flesh, blood of her blood.

What an amazing human being she had to have been.

Mary, like Jesus, endured the unimaginable for us. She watched as her son was cruelly murdered.

The Sons of Thunder argued over who would sit on Jesus' right hand in heaven. It is neither. I think it is Mary, who intercedes for us, who prays for us as a mother prays for her child, now and at the hour of our death.

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