Did the cartoon make you laugh too?
When I saw the cartoon Illustration that is with this post, it made me laugh. Perhaps you will find it funny too. After my initial amusement subsided, I realised that the originator, probably unintentionally, had included a deeper message in it that a lot of people, me included, forget until something ‘jogs’ our memory.
I wouldn’t mind betting that in the phrase “Mary mother of Jesus”, most people focus on “of Jesus”, where Mary is just a name and ‘mother’ has almost become a minor descriptive term, or fill in word. I and I suspect in very many instances we, overlook ‘mother’ and its importance in its own right.
Mary, blessed as she was, was a Mother, important in its and her own right, not just as the mother of our Lord. She was mother to at least one, the name is unimportant in this context, son and if we accept literally what the gospels of Mark and Matthew tell us, she was mother to as many as five sons, and an unknown number, of unnamed, sisters, a view supported by the early (c155 -c240 AD) Christian writer, Tertullian.
She was responsible, with her husband Joseph, for the health, education and safety of all her children, just as any mother is today (or should be but that is a different argument). She would have taught her children’s first words and kept them clean. She would cook their meals and tend them when they were sick. She would dress wounds incurred while playing, or learning to use tools of a trade. She would break up fights between siblings, or other boys.
If her son hurt himself, or was killed, she would feel it as keenly as any mother for her child. Mary’s son was put to death, but so were other mothers’ sons. Mary would be distraught with grief, just like any other mother who lost a son, but not more than any other mother who lost a son. Jesus, Mary’s son, might have been divine but Mary was a mortal, fallible human being, She probably made as many mistakes with her children and had had all the joys and heartaches of motherhood as any mother living or dead.
Next time you hear, or read, about Mary mother of Jesus, try and remember that being a mother is at least as important as the identity of her son.