Mary of Nazareth, An Honored Mother, Day 7

Today’s reading is taken from Luke 1:26-55 and John 19:25-27.

No other human being was closer to Jesus Christ on earth than Mary, his mother. Each of the Gospels and the book of Acts includes her as a woman uniquely gifted to share her Son’s earthly life. As a mother, she is one of us, but as the mother of our Lord, she is blessed above all women. Matthew introduced Mary of Nazareth as the betrothed wife of Joseph, “faithful to the law” (Mt 1:19).

When the angel Gabriel appeared to her with the birth announcement (Lk 1:26–28), Mary’s response clearly revealed her keen understanding of Scripture and her ready willingness to obey God.

The awesome concept of yielding her virgin body to the Holy Spirit as his instrument was sure to be misunderstood, but Mary’s spirit of total trust earned God’s pleasure (Lk 1:38). Overwhelming as the news was, she submitted herself to the assignment with joy. Her song of praise (Lk 1:46-55) describes a perceptive heart of overflowing exaltation to her Lord.

Intertwined with spiritual insight, however, were Mary’s anxieties. When at age twelve Jesus failed to join the family as they returned from Jerusalem (Lk 2:41-50), when the wine at the wedding feast was insufficient (Jn 2:1-12), when she was concerned during his ministry (Mk 6:2-3; Lk 8:19) or horrified at his Crucifixion, her Son graciously responded to his mother’s disquiet on each occasion. He tenderly placed her in the care of John before he died (Jn 19:25-27).

Mary and Joseph became the parents of other children. Mary probably experienced early widowhood, but she shines as a faithful wife and mother. When Mary appeared publicly, standing at the cross (Jn 19:25) and praying after the Lord’s ascension (Ac 1:12–14), she demonstrated her courage to the world.

She was marked as “one of his,” liable for persecution along with the disciples. The unknown maiden from the despised Galilean town of Nazareth (see Jn 1:46) illuminates for all time the basic nature of womanhood: entrusting to the next generation the message of God’s faithfulness, whether through the rearing of one’s own child or through the task of spiritual nurturing that might extend beyond the family circle. Not only was Mary God’s sovereign choice to bear the Christ child, but she was also a devoted and humble follower of her Messiah.

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