Jesus, God, chose to be born as a human being. He chose to be born as a baby, not arrive as a full-grown man. He chose to be born into an average family, not one of wealth, position or prestige. He chose to learn and take on the family business. He chose to follow in the footsteps of the prophets his Father had sent before him.
Jesus chose to speak to the people, to speak to the religious leaders, to speak to the governmental leaders. He chose to love, to heal, to rejoice, to weep, to preach and to pray. Jesus chose to die. Jesus chose to rise. Jesus chose us.
How hard was it for Joseph to believe the angel who told him Mary was innocent? It is an incredible thing to believe - that Mary is having a child by the Holy Spirit. Even today it is one of the hardest things to credit that God became man through a woman. And yet it is a founding pillar of Christianity.
It helps that it had been foretold that God would send a Messiah, a Savior. More specifically, Isaiah prophesied that "The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). Did Joseph remember that prophecy? Did he ever doubt?
For reflection: When I have doubts, do I turn to God for answers and reassurance?
Let us pray. "To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. . . . Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior" (Psalm 25:1-2, 4-5).
Mary was a common name at the time of Jesus, as it is today. In the death and resurrection accounts we hear of several women named Mary. In Mark's Gospel, for instance, the women who are watching the crucifixion are identified as Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome. There were also many other women followers watching (see Mark 15:40-41). Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses also watch to see where Jesus is laid to rest.
In Matthew's account, the three women watching from a distance are identified as Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's son's (Mt 27:55-56). The same two women as in Mark watch to see where Jesus is entombed.
Luke has an unidentified crowd of women (Lk 23:27, 49, 55-56) at the cross and tomb.
John has a slightly different grouping. "Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene" (John 19:25). John also relates to us the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, being given into John's care. John doesn't mention any women watching where Jesus' body is laid, but Mary Magdalene is the first to go to the tomb.
If not for John's gospel, I would be asking myself, "Where's Jesus' mother?" Forget "Where's Waldo?", "Where's Mary?" In the movies of Jesus' life, we always see Mary somewhere in the crowd. She's watching the scourging; she is following along as Jesus carries the cross; she weeps at the foot of the cross as Jesus dies. Mary is always there somewhere. But was she? According to Matthew, Mark and Luke, it appears Mary was not there.
For reflection: Set aside preconceived notions of what happened. Imagine that you are Mary. Would you follow along to the place of crucifixion and be there when your son dies? Could you handle that? Or would you be elsewhere, not able to face the execution of your son?
Let us pray. Jesus, . . .
I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.