Behold, Your Mother
August 29, 2022
Filed In: Faith
Catholics catch a lot of shade from other Christians over the idea that we don’t live the Bible. A closer look under the hood would revel just how intertwined Scripture and Catholicism truly are, and not just because we gave the world the Bible. From the way we decorate the sanctuary, to the priest’s vestments, to the words we pray, the daily life of the Church is deeply linked to the Old and New Testaments.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for Christians is the way that the Catholic Church reveres Mary. That’s an odd thing to object to, when Mary’s place in Salvation History links the Old Covenant to the New.
The Fourth Commandment is to honor thy father and thy mother. Seems strange to ignore the mother of Jesus?
In the ancient kingdom of Israel, the queen is not the wife of the king, but the king’s mother. Jesus took His rightful place on the throne of David, making Mary his queen.
On the Cross, Mary stood at the feet of Jesus, along with John, the apostle that He loved. He said to Mary, referring to John, “Behold, your son.” To John, “Behold, your mother.” There’s a cultural context here. In ancient times, a woman was dependent first on her husband for social and economic support. We know that Joseph, her spouse, died before Jesus even began His public ministry. Jesus would’ve taken on that role of protector. Now, at the cross, she loses her only child, a son. She was at grave risk of becoming destitute, until Christ entrusted her to John. John, an apostle, was one of the first bishops of the Church. So to entrust Mary to John was to ask him to care for her materially, but also to make her mother of the Church. This is reinforced when Christ calls John her son.
We do not worship Mary, or ask her intercession superstitiously. Rather, we respect the place of honor that Christ Himself gave to her: the queen Mother of the Church. Holding Mary in this place of honor is not an invention of the Church or a theological musing, but Catholics taking seriously the truths entrusted to us in Scripture. Mary is our mother, and we treat her with the love and respect that she deserves.