JESUS LOVED HIS MOMMA!
… and I heard him murmur…
“Mother, behold your son; son behold your mother!”
“When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he said to his mother, Woman, behold your son! Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” –John 19:26-27
“Jesus loved his momma.” That’s what the sign in front of the church says. That’s what the Bible says, too. We’re supposed to love our mothers. Most do. Yet, some don’t. Some cant’ and some won’t. It takes time in life to learn that we don’t always get the relationship with our mother that we desire. Some mothers don’t want to have the relationship their children desire and still that goes both ways as some mothers get less than they want or worse… they get the love they deserve. The reason the Bible tells us to ‘honor’ mothers and fathers is because we don’t get to pick them. It takes more effort but parent / child relationships can and will grow as many of us find out over time our parents can be more than father and mother… they’ve, actually, become a friend, a confidant and a guide! And still, the worse thing for a mother is to watch her child die. Jesus’ loved his momma and she watched him die.
There are always four parts to a story. The beginning… the end and all that goes on in the middle make up the three and still the most important part is what any of us makes of that story when all is said and read. Jesus’ story with his mother was a brief 33 years and ended very abruptly. How it started is all on God and plays out big in how Jesus treated his mother.
How could Jesus not love his momma? Out of all the woman in all of creation, God the Father chooses a young woman who is unknown yet full of faith and hope. She received a visiting angel with grace and accepted this call to be the “mother of God!” The Greek Orthodox Church refers to Mary as “Theotokos”… “THE GOD BEARER,” a name Jesus’s mother has worn well over the centuries. I have her icon neatly displayed in my office and the image above is from the back of one of my calling cards. And despite God’s intervention of her marriage and family plans with Joseph, and sensing that great and ominous things would happen (“… and she pondered these things in her heart”) Mary proved to be a typical Jewish mother living out her Hebrew faith with all the love and foibles a mother can engage. From the very beginning she knew she would outlive her son. Why? Right after Jesus’ presentation in the Temple where old man Simeon holds Jesus and blesses him… St. Luke says this about what Mary would endure…
“This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” -Luke 2:34
Sticks and stones could break his bones but words would never hurt him. Yet, when the time came, Mary stayed close to Jesus and was within ear shot on the day of his crucifixion. Point? Sons will leave their mothers but mothers never leave their sons.
Mary was a typical mother? Sure. When owning up to being with child, she scampers off to her cousin, Elizabeth to share the great news! What mother-to-be keeps that kind of news to herself. Life is best lived close to family. Life is to be shared and lived out in community as well. She was faithful and brought him to the temple to be given a name and be circumcised. She and Joseph gave him not the name they would have desired… to bear Joseph’s name … but rather gave Jesus the name the angel requested… Joshua… “Ya-Shoo-Ahh” in Hebrew… unlike how we would say “Joshua” … but then…“Jesus” … in English… the name that means… “God is generous!” Did you know that? God is generous? God is… and Mary trusted God’s generosity! But, that’s not all.
We find Mary and Joseph teaching their faith by practicing their faith and there is a story of them taking Jesus down from Nazareth to Jerusalem for Passover. It wasn’t a weekend trip. It lasted a week to 10 days to and from. Travelling in a caravan, they provided safety. They were family and neighbors. And what parent has ever been in a crowd and lost sight of a child? My hand’s up! Mary’s too! And where did she find him? In the place most parents in 2017 would look last… in the church… and just for the record… Jesus got an earful and at the same time teaches a lesson about ‘honoring’ one’s mother and father. For, it was in that moment that Jesus respectfully disagreed with his mother’s tone and reprimand… reminding her and Joseph that God has a bigger picture to paint here than one lad momentarily lost in a crowd.
But, my favorite image is the wedding at Cana. Joseph is now seemingly out of the picture. Jesus accompanies his mother to the wedding… just like a lot of men in their late 20’s today… living at home and going where the parents go. There’s no mention that Mary or Jesus knew the bride and groom but with a close proximity of Cana and Nazareth, it is likely that Joseph may have done some stone work for a Cana family and were therefore, out of respect, invited to the celebration. And in those days, weddings were few and far between and when a wedding did occur it would last 2-3 days or longer and thus the running out of wine makes sense. Mary knew that Jesus could help and must have given him “the mother look” when he resisted the invitation to assist. But, he did… as ‘honor your mother’ was obviously playing in the back of his heart and mind… and when he did… he provided the best wine of the party! Even today, at weddings, the opening prayer includes these words… “Lord God, as you gladdened the wedding at Cana by the presence of your son, so by his presence now bring your joy to this wedding…” You can thank Mary for that!
So, St. John was correct in writing… “there are many more things that could be written about Jesus and his ministry (including more stories of Jesus and his mother…) that can’t fit in this book… but these things are written so that you will know…”
And one thing we know. Jesus loved his momma … to his dying day and even in his dying showed us that there is still living to do and provided for her care in the days to come…
And what a surprise for Mary to have received the news that Jesus was now alive. All that she knew and all that she experienced brought to full circle. God IS generous! People still speak of her today! Jesus loved his momma. And on weekend’s like this… I miss mine!
Happy Mother’s Day to all the momma’s out there and for all who provide ‘motherly’ love!
Murmuring for the good…