Sunday, September 4, 2016
Let's do some thinking about Jesus, and the ups and downs of his family life. We will start with his mother, Mary, and the seven sorrows she carried. Jesus’ family were real people with real problems. The first clue Mary got about the sorrow she would bear through the life of her son, was from the prophet, Simeon, when he said to her, “This child will be a sign from God which many people will speak against and so reveal their secret thoughts. And sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart.” Soon after Jesus’ birth, Mary’s family endured the plight of refugees, whose world of suffering, pain and hopelessness are transparent before us today. It was no different for Mary, and her toddler, Jesus, as they fled for Egypt in the middle of the night, and lived in a foreign land in fear of their lives. The next drama Mary faced was losing Jesus in Jerusalem, for three days, when he was twelve years old. Think of that happening to one of our children today! Perhaps these events were all preparation for Mary for what was still to come. Following Jesus’ journey of carrying his cross through the streets of Jerusalem, were a group of weeping women, one of which was Mary. If that was not enough, Mary then endured Jesus’ crucifixion itself. We read; “Standing close to Jesus' cross were his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” Then again, Mary grieved, as Jesus was laid to rest, “Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph were watching and saw where the body of Jesus was placed.” What do we make of all of this? Are Mary’s experiences not a guide for family life today? The ups and downs we experience, the losses, tragedies, sufferings and sorrows that come our way, shape us, like they did her? Do Mary’s experiences not teach us that life’s most true and profound lessons are learnt the hard way? Were Mary and her family not who they were, to some extent because of what they had gone though, together? Is there not also some insight into a mother’s heart? Indeed, Mary is deserving of the title ‘a most blessed woman’, as so many parents still are today.