Mothering Sunday...the role of Mary

Mary throughout the ages had been likened to the second Eve, just as Jesus has been hailed as the second Adam. They both appear in our gospel reading today.

At the height of his excruciating pain humiliation and shame, on being pinned to the cross; the first loving face Jesus sees, in a sea of hostility and angry faces, is his own mother.

She stands there supported by the disciple John, along with her own sister and with Mary Magdalene, faithful to the last, entering into his torment with him.

One can only imagine the grief she felt that day, as she watched her son suffer….

while she could do absolutely nothing, but just stand, and weep and watch. Where else would a mother have been, other than by her dying child’s side.

Mary in her lifetime played many roles, but her most important role in life was to love.

We all have one thing in common. We wouldn’t be sitting here now if we hadn’t had a Mother. We may recognise our own mothers in very many of these roles:-

Lifegiver

Nurse

Cook

Lifeguard

Look-out

Provider

Teacher

Friend

Banker

Cleaner

Storyteller

Chauffeur

Childminder

Coach

Defender

Peacekeeper

Umpire/

Referee

Gardener

Boss

Timekeeper

If all of these jobs had to be done in the home by a variety of skilled people it would cost a small fortune to pay them all, but a mother does them all for free. That’s why today on Mothering Sunday we all give thanks for our mothers. Her love comes free. No charge.

( Mind you, it is more noticeable in today’s world, that dad’s take a far greater share in bringing up children today.) Similarly the role that once a father played, that of breadwinner and provider can also be played by a mother.

So I suppose it’s true to say that these skills are common to both parents of children today.

So even though today is Mothering Sunday, we are including the dad’s in this too.

Perhaps today it’s more about teamwork.

But do you notice something about Jesus and Mary his mother in our reading today?

The roles reverse!

Even though Jesus is dying he begins to mother her. She becomes the child. He calls her ‘Dear Woman’ and then proceeds to place her into the arms of his very best friend. He provides a shelter for her.

This is what his love is like . Free. No charge!

In the same way today he wants to mother us. He notices us, even in our worst moments of pain, shame and humiliation, he is there for us. When we have our crosses to bear, he is there for us, just like Mary was for him.

It was Jesus who described himself as a ‘mother’ – a mother hen who longed to gather her ‘brood’ under her wings,and give them her peace, if only they would let her.

There are SO many lessons that Jesus teaches us from the cross itself. He shows us the way, by his own example, how we ought to forget our own selves, our pain, our miseries and complaints, and give love like that of a mother to others.

There are so many people in this world today who know nothing of a love like that.

Oh Master grant that we may never seek, …….

So much to be consoled as to console,

…………..To be understood as to understand,

………….To be loved as to love with all my soul.