Easter Reflections: Mary

I often wonder how much Mary remembered Simeon’ words way back when the newborn Jesus was presented in the temple 40 days after his birth. When Simeon had praised God as he held the baby Messiah in his arms and turning to Mary, said, ‘And a sword will pierce your own heart too’.

A warning that Mary as the mother of the Christ Child would also suffer deep anguish. Not first hand, being persecuted herself as far as we know; but the desperate anguish of seeing her own son suffer and intensely more harrowing for a mother than suffering it yourself.

As the events of Good Friday unfolded and Mary saw the hatred and violence wrought upon her boy, how she must have pleaded in desperation to God.

I wonder how much she understood? How much Jesus had explained to her, or had she, like the disciples, been unable to comprehend the path Jesus had to take to complete his ministry?

Mary was the first human to touch the flesh of God. She felt him growing inside her, kicking against her belly during her pregnancy. She felt his struggled entry into this world when he was born. She saw him take his first breath, his first steps, heard his first words, saw the first time he shone with the love of his earthly and heavenly fathers; and watched him grow day by day in the favour of man and God.

She saw him blossom as the Holy Spirit empowered him and led him in ministry and heard his words of love and wisdom transfix the crowds who gathered to hear him teach. She saw how he challenged the authorities and made too many important enemies as he overturned the social and religious precepts of the day.

The she saw him flogged, his flesh torn into tatters by a vicious whip branded by brutal men. She saw him mocked, abused and abandoned and hanging in agony.

She heard him with his dying breath commend her to John for safekeeping. She heard him redeem a crucified thief and forgive his persecutors, and perhaps in her agony she railed and wondered how God could do this.

She must have cried out in her own agony feeling his every shot of pain. A mother watching her son, her innocent, loving, good, divine Son die, just beyond her reach swathed in the darkness of an eclipse.

The desperate anguish of a mother, her soul pierced by the sword as prophesied a lifetime before.

Mary, mother of God, carrying the weight of grief in her heart, almost too much to bear, until Sunday. Until the time when she finally believed the exciting, confusing news that the tomb was empty because her son had risen from the dead.

And Mary, the mother of Jesus finally saw her beloved, resurrected holy Son exalted to the new life he was born to make for us all.

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