Scripture: Lectionary # 450: Ezra 6:7-8.12.14-20. Psalm 122:1-2.3-4.4-5.
Three times within our Gospels the seeking of Jesus by his mother and his extended family appears. Mark, the oldest Gospel to be written, is the source for Matthew and Luke, but the latter Evangelists change some of the details of Mark to speak to their communities and from their particular pastoral theological view. That is the beauty of having four Gospels and three that are rather close in their outline and contents. The scene occurs in the early part of Jesus’ Galilean ministry of word and action. Luke gives it a special theological perspective by showing us that Mary is one who does the will of God and thus is a model for our own discipleship. There is nothing negative in Luke about Mary and it is he who gives her a voice (see Luke 1:26-38 and Luke 1:46-56).
Luke already gave us a portrait of Mary in the first two chapters which we name Luke’s special Infancy Narrative (Matthew has a different one; Mark and John have none). Mary has from the first moment the criteria necessary for a disciple. He call to be the mother of Jesus is the foundation for that discipleship for it is there even before the conception of Jesus, Mary says to Gabriel, “May it be done to me according to your word.” We call it her “Fiat” which in Latin means “May it be so.” Her discipleship will follow once the child Jesus is born and grows into manhood. She will follow him from his birth till his death as we learn from the Gospels when studied as a whole. Luke, however, is our portrait painter of Mary. Even tradition pushes this metaphor into paintings that belong to some five hundred years later than Luke’s “portrait in a literary framework. Most of the great paintings in the history of the Church will be taken from the stories that Luke hands on to us about Mary.
Her courageous and intense faith enables her to say yes to the motherhood God asks of her in her calling. Mary confirms that Yes by all that she says and does after the conception and birth of Jesus. She will, in her own way, become the “Star of Evangelization” by handing on the Gospel without words! She always points to God and to her Son and not to herself even in this puzzling scene of searching for Jesus. She will continue to seek, to talk to him and to follow him even till he dies on the Cross. She will be with his other disciples when they gather after his burial into the upper room awaiting the Holy Spirit. She had already been overshadowed by that same Holy Spirit in the Annunciation account. Luke has never lost sight of that and brings Mary into the foundation of the Christian Church in that upper room in Jerusalem where his Gospel actually began in its narrative.
Mary gives us the best and most faithful example of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. She has extended her primary role as his mother to the missionary role that all disciples of Jesus are to embrace and fulfill. Her relationship to Jesus as his mother never ceases and continues today in the proper and balanced veneration her spiritual sons and daughters give to her. We who accept her as our spiritual mother and the mother of the Church are fortunate to have learned this love for her through Luke our Evangelist, theologian, artist, and historian. As Mary searched out to find Jesus, so Luke searched out the sources and traditions that were handed down in the earliest Jerusalem community about Mary. As her Son’s disciples and her disciples we strive to make her better known, love, and served. May we obtain the grace of taking Mary into our life as did the Evangelist Luke and the Beloved Disciple. May we assist her in her mission of bringing Jesus to all peoples. Amen.