Mary: the original stumbling block

???????????????????????????????Even in the time of Our Lord himself, Mary was a stumbling block.

“Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary…” (Mk 6: 2-3 RSV)

Yet rather than a stumbling block, properly understood, we realise that Mary wants nothing more than to take us to her Son.

A commonly heard phrase in Catholicism is ad Jesum per Mariam or to Jesus through Mary. Without fail, by developing a relationship with Mary, our Blessed Mother, we will be drawn closer to her Son.

This idea that we go through Mary to Jesus is found in the Scriptures. Today I’ll focus on two such Scripture passages.

In Luke’s Gospel, we read how Mary visits Elizabeth who is also with child. Elizabeth cries out in recognition that this wasn’t just Mary her relative but that this was indeed the mother of her Lord. Through Mary, Elizabeth encounters her Lord, even whilst he is still a helpless babe in the womb. Moreover, her own child, John the Baptist, leaps in Elizabeth’s womb upon hearing Our Lady’s greeting for he too, through Mary, encounters Jesus then recognises Him.

A little further on in Luke’s Gospel, we hear of the birth of our Saviour, of Christ the Lord. An angel of the Lord brings this good news to shepherds in the nearby fields. Deciding to go to Bethlehem and see this Lord, who do they encounter? We read, “So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in the manger.” (Lk 2:16 NIV)

So they hurried off and found Mary – it was through Mary first that they came to find Jesus. Imagine this new mother, so tired, her heart flooded with joy at the safe arrival of this new born boy when a group of shepherds rush in, not so clean, not so reputable, hardly able to contain their excitement and puzzlement alike. She wonders at the things they say. How easily she could have had St Joseph send them packing but instead she welcomes them and takes them to see her little son, Emmanuel, the new born babe who lies in a manger wrapped in swaddling cloths.

To Jesus through Mary!

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