Marian Devotion (Day 19)
May 19, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.
Day 19
A reading from the holy Gospel accordion to Matthew (12:46-50)
While Jesus was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brethren appeared. They were standing outside, wishing to speak with him. [Someone told him, “Behold, your mother and your brothers are standing outside. They want to speak with you.”]  But Jesus replied to that man, “Who is my mother? Who are my brethren?” Then, pointing to his disciples, he said, “Behold, my mother and my brethren. Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother and sister and mother.”
From Truly Our Sister by Elizabeth Johnson
Standard commentaries on this passage hold that at the very least Jesus’ mother and brothers misunderstood him. Perhaps they did, this being an instance of a truly gifted person soaring beyond the vision and expectations of a typical family. It might just as well be the case, though, that they understood him only too well and sought to forestall what they saw as inevitably disastrous consequences. Parents whose children take risks to follow their dream in dangerous situations know the feelings well: the fear, the pride, the effort to protect. In Miriam of Nazareth’s case, as one Jewish writer observes, “This son ... roams around through the country and creates unrest. He does things that are dangerous: danger threatens from the Jewish authorities and from the hated occupying power of the Romans. He puts the whole family at risk.”! 
Making this trip, the unnamed mother of Jesus gives the lie to passive obedience as the key to her nature. Who better to have organized such a family expedition? In response to his behavior, which not only rejected village norms for eldest sons but also opened the door to disaster for himself and his kin, she and his brothers took action that they considered to be for his own good. They set out to fetch him home. Propelled by the Spirit to follow his own calling, however, Jesus meets their initiative with his own. He moves on without them.
Full of concern for one she loves, Miriam of Nazareth does not have the New Testament to help her interpret God’s designs. Embarking on a mission that ultimately fails, she stands “outside” with an anxious mind and heart…., We should be wary about judging this scene as evidence of lack of faith. The scholars of Mary in the New Testament rather sweepingly declare that the event behind this scene took place before “the time at which Mary’s belief began,” by which they mean more precisely the post-resurrection understanding of Jesus that she shared with the Jerusalem community. While this may be true in a Christian sense, her faith in God did not begin only after Easter, as witnessed by this scene, where her faith is at full pitch. Believing in God, Creator and Redeemer of the world, this Jewish woman partners the divine work of love by seeking to preserve and protect a precious life. No submissive handmaid, her memory moves in solidarity with women everywhere who act critically according to their best lights to seek the well-being of those they love.

Musical Selection (Archangel Voices)

We learn from the angel, O Mary full of grace,  just how to greet you and say: “Rejoice, destined maid and favorite of God whose word you freely obey!”

Blest are you in the house of the Lord! Blest is the Son and Savior you bore! Rejoice, O Full of Grace.

Rejoice, clay enclosing creation’s ancient Potter, reforming Adam within, Rejoice garden lush with the presence of the Father, open to Eve once again!

Rejoice, living Book for the deathless Word of God, who comes to the world through you! Rejoice, precious flask filled with chrism of the Spirit, making ev’rything new!

Rejoice, mystic star reflecting off the Sun to guide us all in the Way! Rejoice, brilliant lamp of the teaching of the Church! Let none of us stumble or stray!

Rejoice, table set with the Bread come down from heaven, nourishing all with His Life! Rejoice, loving mother of each and every Christian, model disciple of Christ!

Lord our God, through the Blessed Virgin Mary
you have shown us the example of a disciple,
who is faithful to the words of life;
open our hearts to receive your saving word,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit
it may speak to us in our daily lives
and bring forth a rich harvest of holiness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Disciple of the Lord)