Today is the feast of the Annunciation, where we celebrate the announcing to Mary by the messenger from God, Gabriel, that she is to become the mother of a boy she must name Jesus.
There is a pithy four-word sermon for Marian feast days. It goes like this: “No Mary; no Jesus”. If Mary had not said her yes to God at the annunciation, then God would not have become flesh through her.
Mary is the woman of the Magnificat who believes in a God of justice for the poor: “God has filled the starving with good things, sent the rich away empty.” She birthed him, nurtured and formed her son into the man he became. At the wedding in Cana, she propelled him into public ministry. At Cana, it was his time, and his mother knew it. She held him close at his birth. She let him go so that he could bring Good News to the poor. She held him close again at his death and, once more, let him go. St Ignatius is confident that the risen Jesus would have appeared also to her. How might they have held each other in that moment?
Here is the chronology of Mary as mentioned in the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles.
The Gospel of Luke mentions Mary the most, a dozen times, and these are all in the infancy narrative (Luke 1:27–2:34) In Luke we find the stories we call, Annunciation, Visitation, Marriage to Joseph, Virgin birth Nativity, Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, Flight into Egypt and Finding of Jesus in the Temple. And Mary and Jesus’ brothers pay him a visit while he is on his ministry in Luke 8:19.
The Gospel of John refers to the mother of Jesus twice. She is first seen at the wedding at Cana (John 2:1–12). The second time is at the crucifixion of Jesus, where she stands together with the Beloved Disciple and women known to Jesus.
In the Acts of the Apostles, Mary and the brothers of Jesus are mentioned in the company of the eleven apostles who are gathered in the upper room after the Ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:14).
About 16 BC: born
1 AD: Gave birth to her firstborn, Jesus
After 33 AD: died.
Quote from Saint
Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”Mary, Luke 1:38 KJV
John 2:1-12 : New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2
Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3
When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4
And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” 5
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6
Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8
He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 9
When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there a few days.
Thought for the Day
Imagine that moment when Mary, having seen her son crucified, is visited by him, risen, alive.
The Magnificat by Palestrina
Magnificat anima mea Dominum;
et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo salvatore meo, quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae;
Ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est,
et sanctum nomen eius,
Et misericordia eius in progenies et progenies timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo;
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui;
deposuit potentes de sede,
et exaltavit humiles;
esurientes implevit boniset divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum,
sicut locutus est ad patres nostros,
Abraham et semini eius in saecula.
My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her lowliness;
henceforth all ages will call me blessed.
The Almighty works marvels for me.
Holy his name.
His mercy is from age to age,
on those who fear him.
He puts forth his arm in strength
and scatters the proud-hearted.
He casts the mighty from their thrones
and raises the lowly.
He fills the starving with good things,
sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, his servant,
remembering his mercy,
the mercy promised to our fathers,
to Abraham and his sons for ever.