I tried to tell him… June 7th 2015
A word from Mary, the mother of Jesus…
A reflection based on Mark 3:20-35)
So, they’ve all left, these supposed mothers and brothers and sisters of Jesus… If life’s a party – who cleans up?! Apparently not the other mothers and brothers and sisters.
Back home in Nazareth and I didn’t even get to see him, but for a quick peck on the cheek and a promise to try to slip by for a visit under cover of darkness when the new moon rises. I fear for him; he thinks he can change the world…
Our children – they grow, they spread their wings, and we mothers and fathers walk around for the rest of our lives, in conflict between wanting them to be all they can be, and wanting desperately to protect them, sometimes, from themselves.
Oh, I’m not the first mother to worry about her child, and I certainly won’t be the last. We try to tell them – be careful out there, stick to your values, but don’t expect overnight success and don’t expect that everyone will be delighted with you, or even understand you.
Vincent Van Gogh was mocked as a painter; only after his death, was his genius recognized. Nellie McClung worked tirelessly for decades for the right of women to vote in your own country. Gandhi worked for over 40 years, often against nearly impossible odds, to free India from British power. Martin Luther King Junior dedicated his entire life to the victory of civil rights and died before he could see the Promised Land, much like Moses 3500 years before him. Many environmentalist have been hunkered down, some for more than 40 years feeling like voices crying in the wilderness, and only now having a glimmer of hope that maybe the world might be starting to listen to them, if it’s not already too late…
But real work in the real world happens slowly, painfully, and ambiguously – I know that. I’ve been working for nearly all my life in these brutal times… trying to be faithful to the Torah. I tried to tell him – listen to your elders, respect the teachers, so what does he do? Twelve years old, and he listens to them all right, then talks with them and challenges them – all the while neglecting to tell Joseph and I that he would be staying on. Three days! Three days, we looked for him and all he could say in his defence was, “Didn’t you realise that I would doing my father’s business.” That was a tense trip home, let me tell you!
I worried when he started to pay attention to his cousin John. John always had a wild streak and he didn’t care much for kowtowing to the likes of the Pharisees. He and his little band of disciples carrying on their `occupy movement’ at the Jordan crossing. Now he’s gone and been arrested, and I fear for his life… Maybe it’s just as well dear old Elizabeth passed on last year, for this would have been heartbreaking.
Now it seems like Jesus is trying to carry on with John’s message. Oh, it’s more refined, but certainly no less dangerous. He is gifted and blest, no doubt, but he doesn’t fit in nicely with those teachers who tolerated a precocious twelve year old. He’s challenged their patronage appointments, and insisted that love is higher than the law. No wonder they want to insist that he’s mad, or demon- possessed.
Oh, if only I could protect him, as I did when he was a wee child. I felt so strong then, if only for such a short while. Wasn’t it I, shortly after his conception, who sang from the depth of my being, “My soul cries out with a joyful shout that the God of my heart is great…Let the king beware for your justice tears every tyrant from his throne. The hungry poor shall weep no more, for the food they can never earn, there are tables spread, every mouth be fed, for the world is about to turn…”
I tried to tell him, always tried to tell him, that we were all children of God, we were all part of the covenant of love that called forth creation; that called Sarah and Abraham out of retirement. I tried to tell him, that every living soul was his brother and sister, I tried to tell… Everyone – his brother and sister… Oh!… I guess he listened to what I tried to tell him!
I wish you well my son. I’m scared for you, but I’m so proud too. The Lord be with you. And… try to come home soon.