March 25th, 2006
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I’m imagining her as an older, modern woman – gray
haired, wearing slacks and a sweater, calm, wise and compassionate.
Over coffee she’s explaining how she has survived her life.
It started the day that an angel turned her life upside down and
asked her to say yes to having God’s child – a terrifying
decision, nothing like the ecstatic Renaissance paintings depict
She knew people would gossip that she was either a liar or a nut
case. Just picture what the ladies at her synagogue had to say about
THAT explanation. At least Joe believed her after HE got the word
from an angel – what a sweetheart!
Maybe it was good that the Romans ordered them out of town for the
census before the baby was born but she can still remember every
bump on that donkey ride. Bethlehem looked pretty good until they
found out that all the motels were full. The stable was dirty and
it smelled. What a place to have your first child. (Reality check
for city folks: visit a working barn some day.)
And her tales went on – the flight to Egypt with a baby followed
by the hardships of living in a foreign country. She can really
identify with today’s immigrants. Then there was the time
her 12 year old kid decided to disappear for three days during a
trip just so he could show the elders in the Temple how smart He
was. Junior high!!!
She had to be tough to raise Him and stand up to Him on occasion
like she did at Cana. Of course she was there when the going was
roughest and His friends deserted him. Suddenly she was the mother
of a felon dying a horrible death.
Mary. For years I’ve ignored you because I was force-fed a
syrupy Marian piety as a child – having to give up recess
in October to say the rosary, march through town in May procession
etc. Until today’s readings, I’ve never thought about
you as a real woman – smart, tough and loving – who
made many hard choices to say “yes.” No wonder generations
have called you “blessed!”
to the writer of this reflection.
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