Feast of the Annunciation
God’s invitation and Mary’s “yes,” which we celebrate today, began a journey. Pregnancy and birth both wondrous and shameful. Surprising shepherds and sages. Simeon said amazing things about Jesus and then to Mary: “a sword will pierce your own soul, too.”[i]
Jesus was born into, lived, and died in community: family, neighbors, friends, and through it all, his mother Mary. She and Joseph anxiously searched three days for 12-year-old Jesus when he went missing. At the wedding in Cana, Mary prompted about the wine running out. Perhaps a push and pull, the mother encouraging her son to live into his vocation.
At the cross, Mary and the beloved disciple stood before Jesus. “Woman, behold your son. … Behold, your mother.”[ii] Perhaps Jesus is focused on giving her into the care of his friend. But what if Jesus speaks first of himself? “Woman, behold your son.” Look at me.
The Rev. T. Denise Anderson comments a mother wants and tries to look steadily at her child, all the more when the child is in distress and pain. What parent at that time would turn away to consider a new chosen family? Wouldn’t a parent be fully focused, if possible, on their child including when dying, even dying a horrific death?[iii]
Wouldn’t a human child cherish being seen by their mother even as asking a friend to care of her? Mother and son in love through bitter death. As in the classic images of Mary holding Jesus’ dead body, she is with him all the way. Jesus invited her: “behold your son.”
Jesus dwelt among us in a human family learning to live and love through vulnerability with others. Look at Jesus in and through his relationships, especially with his mother. Mary can help us see Jesus, and she models bearing God to the world through the long journey. Today we remember Mary’s courageous “yes” to the angel. She continued to say “yes” again and again in a life of love, sorrow, and wonder. With Mary, may we continue to behold her Son.
[i] Luke 2:35
[ii] John 19:26-27
[iii] T. Denise Anderson (2020) from the introduction to an artist statement/sermon about her painting Pietà: “Woman, Behold your Son; Behold your Mother.” I commend the entire piece especially this Holy Week. http://www.tdandersonart.com/pieta-woman-behold-your-son-behold-your-mother/ Thanks to A Sanctified Art LLC for their collaboration with Anderson and referring to this piece. www.sanctifiedart.org
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