Mary's Role in the Redemption


JMJ

Everyone has heard the phrases, "My mom makes the best chocolate chip cookie"--"my mom makes the best spaghetti"--"Mothers know best!"--"My mother is the best mother in the world!" Yes, we have heard those phrases before. And why wouldn't God think the same? Everyone believes their mother is the best in the world, and why wouldn't God want the best mother? If He would become flesh and redeem sinners, He would have at least had a good mother.

Imagine if you were going to sacrifice your power and knowledge to become a dog. Dogs aren't very smart nor are they that powerful. One cannot think of such a thing. But God, who is Love and Life, became one of us, who are dumb and weak. Now, why isn't it reasonable for HIM to make the best mother when if WE had the choice to do so, we would? It is reasonable that if God was to become one of these dogs, He would have at least one great dog with Him. Just as a good son makes a great name for his mother heaping all amount of praise on her, so too shall the divine Son of God make His Mother the greatest of all!

Everyone has a blueprint of whom they love. We even have a blueprint of what kind of music we like. So God too has a blueprint of His love, and His music. That is of course why He made her what He wanted her to be: the greatest woman of all, Mary. Many have said that Catholics "adore," "worship," or make her a "goddess" like the pagan gods, but since no one is guilty of such nonsense, these misunderstandings shall be ignored. For those who want to know why Catholics honor Mary so, it is because her Son isn't an ordinary son. If Jesus were an ordinary man, we would not give much attention to the mother. We always want to know who is the mother of a great man.

Mary in the Scriptures

We read in the Scriptures that God will become flesh, and one of the questions will be, "how?"

God will become flesh by being born of the Woman (Gal 4:4) who with the Savior will crush the cobra's head (Gen 3:15; cf. Col 2:15; Rom 16:20; Heb 2:14; 1 John 3:8). He made a Woman who will separate God and sin, that there would be "great enmity" between the Woman and the serpent. So from the first moment of her conception, the Woman (Eve created without sin, Mary the New Eve conceived without sin) was preserved from sin, preserved by the grace of God from even falling into the serpent's grasp.

God became a divine person, God and Man. He would have eyes, nose, ears, lips, and body, yet be fully God. To be the New Adam, He needed to experience Eden as well. It was appropriate that He have a place that was pure, without the effects of sin. The womb of Mary was His Eden. In order for this to happen, Mary herself would have the choice of bringing this Child into the world. 

God made man with free will. If He did so, He would have to make Mary, even though immaculately conceived by the grace of God, have free will as well. So that there would be no destruction of human dignity, He also asked Mary if she would, with her own free will, make God flesh. And so God sent His messenger Gabriel to Nazareth, and said,

"Hail, favored one [or full of grace]! The Lord is with you." (Luke 1:28)

This is a parallel to Judith 13:18 when it says,

"Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God, above all the women on earth; and blessed be the Lord God, the creator of heaven and earth, who guided your blow at the head of the chief of our enemies."

God was foreshadowing here that Mary, the Woman who would be immaculately conceived, with Jesus the Seed of the Woman, would crush the cobra's head (cf. Gen 3:15). So the angel goes on to say,

"Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." (Luke 1:32-33)

Here we should expect that Mary would be excited because she will bear the Messiah. But she became troubled because she doesn't know how this would happen since she is a virgin. And so she says,

"How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?" (Luke 1:34)

And the Angel tells how this would be,

"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God." (Luke 1:35)

Now Mary has another problem. She had to choose whether to ratify her redemption and co-redeem mankind. Imagine if she says NO. This would mean that there would be no cross, no resurrection, no redemption! Everyone who is reading this passage should cross their fingers in hope that Mary would say YES. If she didn't, no redemption, and if she does, even for the "greatest" man in the world we can say, "This man is worth dying for."

Everything is at stake. Think of the miracles Jesus did to save man. Think of the world with hope. Think of the Christians who died for this Man. Think of the great Saints who gave themselves up to Jesus and made the world a better place. Do you think this would happen if Mary said NO? And so in order for this to happen, in order for the redemption of man to happen, Mary would have to say YES. One part of her role in the redemption is to make the prophecy be fulfilled. And so she says,

"Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done according to your word." (Luke 1:38)

Everyone should be relieved that she said this. Now that she said those words, they can read the rest of the Bible. They can think of the great things Jesus did, and what man has accomplished in His name. We read more from Scripture,

"During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled." (Luke 1:39-45)

What can we learn from this? Well, we can learn Mary's characteristics, which are different from the world. Mary, who is humble, forgot about herself, and praised God instead,

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever." (Luke 1:46-55)

This is not an ordinary woman! This is a mother! A word that the world has forgotten! Instead, the world believes in so-called "feminism" : that man has abused women so much in the past, they are tired of it, and they will revolt anytime they feel anything would hurt "womanhood." Don't be fooled with this kind of womanhood vs. true womanhood. We see for example the works of Mary and the Pro-Abortion (or so-called "Pro-Choice") crowd.

Mary: She learns that Elizabeth, her relative, is in need of help. Instead of thinking about the need of herself, she walks to her old relative. She did this because it is the right thing to do and family is first.

Pro-Abortion: When a woman who is pregnant needs help because she has no choice but to murder the child, they say, "Let her do it; it is her choice." They believe that no one has the right to go to the woman and tell her what is right because it is her "choice."

Mary: She greets Elizabeth, and we find out when motherhood starts. "And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me." We see how Elizabeth calls her mother even though she is still pregnant. Elizabeth knows how important this child is; not only that, but we know human life is sacred. We see that Mary is now called Mother after her fiat (her YES to God).

Pro-Abortion: A woman becomes a mother when she chooses to be one. The child in her womb isn't a child if she believes it isn't. More important, a woman has the choice of even murdering the child after the birth. Motherhood doesn't have meaning until one chooses to make it so, and their whole pride falls.

Mary: Instead of having joy for herself, she gives praise to God who has done great things for her. She does not have pride, but is humble. She does the will of God first, then thinks of herself. 

Pro-Abortion: Have pride because you are a woman. Whatever a man does, you can do it too. Do not do what God says, but believe what you think He says. When a man goes to the moon, you should too (hooray for women astronauts, I'm not against them, just making a point). When man becomes a President, you have the right to be one too. Become man and forget motherhood! 

We see the difference between true womanhood and so-called "feminism." Womanhood comes from the greatest woman who ever lived, and feminism comes from those who want to be men. Feminism forgets that the best thing to be in this world is a mother. They forget that mothers bring love to their homes. So we need a Woman who will bring love to the world. This love is Jesus of course (John 3:16).

Mary and Christmas

Christmas day is probably the best day for everyone. It is when presents are given and received. Everyone knows that giving is what we should do on Christmas. But let's take a look at Christmas day. 

Every woman, when she gives birth, looks to the heavens and thanks God for their precious child. But here was a Madonna, who looked down, for heaven was in her arms. She gave the best present a person can give. She gave birth to Jesus Christ. We see God became flesh, and the heavens rejoice!

We also see the point of the Gospel. That is to come first, then go. You should come to He who will give you everything you need. Then, go to the world and preach the Good News. That is why Jesus' first word is, "Come," then the last, "Go." We see the shepherds do this on that Day. This gives us a glimpse of who this Child will be. We see after they visited, it says, "Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart." She knows that this Child will attract men, and she must have a part of it too, meaning she has a role in the redemption as well. We see how this will be when we read,

"...And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, 'Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.'" (Luke 2:34-35)

This foreshadows the Cross, which we will talk about later. We see that Mary will suffer as well as her Son. This means that man will come to her with grief and she has to show them to her Son. This would be a long time until this happens, but it will be a short time until she is reminded again that this will happen. We read,

"Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him to the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, 'Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.' And he said to them, 'Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?' But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man." (Luke 2:41-52)

This is the first time we see what Jesus' ministry will be. He will be teaching many like He has taught in the temple. Not only that, we see that the people in the temple were listening to what He says. Knowing that they were listening, He showed them a virtue that they have forgotten. That is obedience. He showed that all this knowledge was nothing compared to obedience. He shows that He knows all these things because He obeyed His mother. Jesus needed to be taught by His parents as well. Jesus would also have taught His parents. Now, why would Jesus need to be taught if He is God Incarnate? Simple, He was man as well. People forget that Jesus was a man. He didn't "seem" to be human, He was one. Even though He has the power, He had limits as well. If I had a powerful eye, and could see everything, and closed my eyes, I cannot see. Or if I shut one eye, I would not see as well as if both eyes were open. 

One might ask, "Why was Mary anxious if Jesus was God?" Anyone who asks this question isn't asking a logical question. One would forget what motherhood is all about if he asks this question. I can ask a better question, "Why did Joseph and Mary go out to buy bread and leave Jesus in Bethlehem, if He was God?" Not only that, this helps us show how loving Mary is.

The minute she found out that Jesus was in trouble; they quickly try to find Him. Note that this 12 year old isn't an ordinary 12 year old. This 12 year old would soon become the redeemer of mankind. They would not want anything to happen to this boy. So when Mary was anxious, she was showing that she was a good mother. If she weren't anxious, she wouldn't be a good mother. Any good mother would be anxious if her child is lost. Even though this boy is God, they were still anxious. This shows how great Mary was.

We also see that it said that "his mother kept all these things in her heart." We see that Mary has been reminded how hard this will be when Jesus is ready to redeem the world. This passage means that she remembered what Simeon has told her.

We also see how it said that "Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man." We do not know exactly what He did in those years. We know however, that He was taught by His parents about God. Either that, or He wanted to stall the redemption. Why would He stall? Simple. Because He wanted to be with His mother as often as he could. We know that this woman is God's love from the beginning. He wanted to be a child and follow His mother. He would not have told us to be childlike if He did not do this Himself. If God wanted all the honor, He would not have told us to keep the 4th commandment (Honor your father and mother).

We also see that Jesus knows that His parents had authority over Him. If the world lost its respect for authority, it is because they lost it first in the home. When someone says that the Catholic Church focuses too much on Mary, tell them that Jesus spent 90% of His life with His mother and only 10% was given to His ministry.

Mary Mediatrix of All Grace

The wedding at Cana is probably the best way to show how Mary was the mediatrix of man or the mediatrix of all grace, as the Catholic Church believes. The Scriptures say,

"On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there." (John 2:1)

One could be confused how John would first mention Mary rather than Jesus. It is because he wanted to show what this woman is like. She does not want to be honored alone, but wants to give Jesus to the world as she first did in Bethlehem. So we read,

"When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, 'They have no wine.'" (John 2:3)

We see that no one knew that they ran out of wine, but Mary knew. She knows man's needs before we tell her. And so she says a little prayer to Jesus, "They have no wine." This signifies the wine that Jesus will give them at the Last Supper. When she said they have no wine, Mary is saying,

"This is it. It has been a long time that we were together. It is their time now to have you. They need bread that comes from above and a drink that will give them eternal life. They need to be freed from their sins by your blood. They have nothing to eat or drink. You need to give them yourself so that they will have something to eat and drink. Your flesh is true food and your blood is true drink, so you need to give them what they need."

Jesus responds by saying "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come" (John 3:4). In other words, He said,

"Mother, do you know what you are doing? You are giving me to the world. Do you not know that when I suffer, you will suffer as well? Do you not remember what Simeon has told you that a sword will pierce your heart? If I do this, this means that you will not be called the mother of Jesus anymore, but Woman. I am calling you what I have called Eve: you will be the mother of all those living in Me. When you receive this title, you will have to (painfully) redeem the world with me and that you will bring me many souls. Those souls are the sword that Simeon has told you about. This means that whoever my brother or sister is, they are your sons and daughters. Are you sure you want me to do this?"

Mary gives her second fiat. "Do whatever He tells you." We know in John's Gospel, the main point of the story is to believe in Jesus.

"But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name." (John 20:31)

So Jesus does make the miracle Mary has asked Him to do. And we see after they saw the miracle,

"Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him."

We see that they believed in him because He did the miracle. Who made them do this miracle? Mary did. This is why she has been called the Mediatrix. She is the Mediatrix because she made Jesus do the first miracle in order for them to believe. If she didn't, this means that the disciples would not believe in Him. We also see that her role will be as a mother. She will guide many to Jesus. Jesus is the mediator of God and man, and Mary is the mediator of Jesus and man (in fact we all act as little co-mediators, co-workers with God, cf. 1 Tim 2:1-8; 1 Cor 3:9). Her role in the redemption will be a painful one because we know that Jesus is one who suffers. 

Even though in the ministry, Jesus never stopped to honor His mother. We read,

"He was told, 'Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you.' He said to them in reply, 'My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.'"

In other words, He said,

"No! Mary is not my mother because she gave birth to me, but because she gave her fiat to my Father and to me. She is my mother because she heard the word of God, and acted on it."

We also see Mary's role in the redemption at the cross of her son. As we read,

"Woman, behold your son. Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother.'" (John 19:25-27)

We know that the disciple is John. But here, we see John uses the word disciple. This means that whoever is a disciple must take Mary upon his hand. We see that no one directly came to the cross. Who would? Note that the Spirit has not yet arrived, and they see Jesus carrying His cross. Would you follow Him? You probably would be humiliated and not know what you are doing. So you see the mother, and go to her instead. This means that in order for one to carry the cross, you need to take the Mother with you. And Mary will not refuse because Jesus told her that she would take our hands too. So if anyone wants to come to Jesus, to come to the cross, we must come to her as well. We would not know the way if our mother does not give us the way or guide us.

One might ask why didn't Jesus take Mary when He was going to ascend to His Father? Simple. Just as Jesus in human form as an infant needed Mary, so too the Mystical Body of Christ needs a mother. How can we trust Mary if she was not at the cross, but Jesus was? Jesus had His hands and feet nailed, and Mary had her heart pierced with a sword. The sword symbolizes that this Woman will guide us to her Son so that we would be at the cross as well!

She knows Jesus the most. John wrote a fantastic Gospel because he stayed with Mary. Mary knew in Bethlehem that the Word became flesh. That is why John's Gospel is so unique because it is taught by a Mother. Of course, this Mother would give us hope as well. God knows that Jesus is too hard to understand. So He gives us a mother. Mothers know best!

We see the comparison of Jesus and Mary: Jesus is the King, and Mary is the Queen. Jesus is perfect, and so is Mary. Jesus ascended into heaven, and Mary was assumed. Jesus is the mediator, and so is Mary. Like Mother like Son! We must not be discouraged to hold the Woman's hand at the cross because she is the one that leads us to her Son.

A.L.


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