Sunday 14 March 2010

Bible Book:

"And a sword will pierce your own soul too." (v.35)

Luke 2:33-35 Sunday 14 March 2010


On this Mothering Sunday, these few verses remind us of thedouble-edged sword of parenthood. They capture all the wonder andamazement - verging upon sheer disbelief - of Mary and Joseph, asthey received and struggled to make sense of the weight ofprophecy, the rumours of greatness, that they heard spoken of theirtiny precious baby. As new parents they had already lived throughthe difficult circumstances of Jesus' birth, and must have beenvery mindful of their responsibilities to care for, nurture andprotect this young, growing life.

In addition to these natural parental concerns, however, and thewonder of love unfolding in their arms, Mary and Joseph receivedfrom Anna and Simeon in the Temple words of promise and words ofdarker intent (Luke 2:25-32, 36-38). These verses act as abridge between the prophecies of these two devout people. Simeon,saw in the child "light for revelation to the Gentiles", and fromAnna they learned that their tiny baby carried within his personthe whole weight of expectation and longing of the people of Israel- "all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem". In theseverses, therefore, the writer of Luke's Gospel manages to focus forus the hopes of all humankind.

Mary, who had carried Jesus within her own womb, and now carriedhim in her arms, was forewarned of the pain to be born not only inhis body but in her own, at an unspecified time in the future. Theparticularity of this mother and child also speaks to us of theuniversal experience of parenthood: parents feel deeply both thejoys and grief of their children, and they cannot protect theirchildren - or themselves - from all the pain and risks of living.We also glimpse in this verse how true it is that a child, in turn,can shape the life of the parent.

While these words were specifically addressed to Mary, they are areminder to all of us of the deep interdependence of life itself.Our lives are deeply bound with the lives of others - especiallythose whom we hold deeply in our love and care.

To Ponder

A helpless new born baby, held in his mother'sarms. How does this image speak to you of God's grace?

Is it possible to be thankful for the pain wefeel on another's behalf? How have painful times strengthened yourties of family or friendship?

On this Mother's Day, who are those who havecarried you in their hands or hearts, for whom you arethankful?

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