Thursday, 25 October 2007

IV. Jesus meets his mother

Is there anything more bitter sweet than meeting your mother when you are beaten up and in deep trouble? Who comforts who in this picture? I had a big black eye once, a result of a quite outrageous evening in Birmingham and quite completely self inflicted. The worst thing about the entire event was the thought of what my mother would say, I had arranged to meet her and it was unavoidable. What she did say was this: 'You bring someone you love into the world, love them and care for them, give them everything they need...and then they go and do that to themselves. It's heartbreaking.' The need to reassure those you love that you are alright is a natural instinct, and the hardest task of a parent is to let you go your own way.

Is this picture very different? Who lets go of who? Jesus and Mary probably had many prayers in common, but one in particular comes to my mind. On hearing that she was to bear the child Jesus, God - Incarnate, young, unmarried and vulnerable Mary replied: 'Be it done unto me according to your word' (Luke 1: 38). In his vulnerability in the garden of Gethsemane, when the reality of his future suffering had become very plain, Jesus prayed: 'Let not my will, but yours be done' (Luke 22: 43). Mary and her son both let go of themselves, and placed themselves confidently into the hands of God. There they remained even when the going got tough, and it is there that salvation is found.

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