3rd March 2021

Ave Maria – ‘Hail Mary’. Not something I have ever heard in a Baptist service, but an important element of Roman Catholic worship. Maybe the Catholics make too much of Mary – and maybe we make too little.

As we approach Mothering Sunday, in about ten days’ time, I have been reflecting on Jesus and his mother. We hear about her just before and after Jesus’ birth. Then on a visit to Jerusalem, when he was 12, she lost him – any parent whose child has gone missing, however briefly, can sympathise with Mary. Then she appears twice during his ministry – she is at the wedding in Cana and turns up again with other members of the family, when he uses their appearance as an opportunity to embrace his followers as his family. Finally she is there at the crucifixion.

On Mothering Sunday we remember our mothers, and, if they are still with us, probably give them a gift – recognise them in various ways. When we are young we are dependent on our parents and then as they become older we take responsibility for their welfare. And that is what Jesus did. From the agony of the cross he committed her to the care of ‘the beloved disciple’ – probably St John. This demonstrates his concern for her, as he knew that he would no longer be able to discharge that responsibility.

Jesus teaches us many things, often through stories or straightforward teaching, but also through example – and here is just one more.

David Roberts