I’m excited to be back for Faith and Healing, the weekly series that examines how faith can play a positive role in recovery (as it has for me). I took last week off because of my birthday, but now I am back and ready to hit the ground running this week. And in honor of Mother’s Day, we are talking about Mary, Mother of Jesus.
Of course, her role in Christianity is even more extensive. As one article I read put it, she is the daughter of God the Father, the Mother of God the Son, and Spouse of God, the Holy Spirit on account of having conceived through the Holy Spirit. And while her role and representation has changed some from time to time, the core of her representation has always been devotion, faithfulness, and humility. Beyond this, the Virgin Mary is considered the Patron Saint of all of humanity, as well as many groups, including mothers.
And one thing that often sticks with me is a tale related early in the Gospel according to John, where they are at a wedding and they run out of wine. Mary tells this to Jesus who replies “woman, what does this have to do with me, my hour has not yet come.”
And this seems like an odd tale, particularly for Mother’s Day, since it sounds like Jesus is being downright insolent to his mother. Yet there are a few points that need to be made. The first is that the modern English connotation of calling his mother “woman” is not the same as it was in that time, language, and culture. Secondly, it is further telling that Mary’s response to this is to direct the servants to do whatever Jesus says. She has faith in him, and some interpretations I’ve read suggest she is reminding him of his purpose. This is perhaps particularly telling in the symbology of how the whole thing plays out. Jesus instructs the servants to fill ceremonial jars used for washing with water, which he then turns to wine, thus performing his first miracle. And in so doing he foreshadows how his blood will one day cleanse us and save us from our sin. Indeed, it almost seems like this exchange between Jesus and his mother is one where only they know how many levels there are to this interaction and how significant it is.
And if that is the case, if this was a moment where Jesus was reminded of his purpose and his mission by his mother, that seems to be the core of something that should be shared on Mother’s Day. So often we may falter, or forget our purpose. So often we might get distracted. Yet the support of our mothers, the support of the people who were our very first supports, both figuratively and literally, is just one of many, many reasons why they are deserving of being honored.
Indeed, the love and support of my mother has been essential to my own recovery. Her caring and her presence, even in moments where she perhaps did not understand the darkness I was going through, often was one of the key things holding me back from the edge. So today, Mother’s Day, I am thankful for mothers. I am thankful for Mother Mary, my mothers, and the role of so many amazing moms out there.
Seriously, thank you moms for all that you do. And happy Mother’s Day.