Learn by Topic: Mary


During the infancy narrative of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel, there are two times when Mary keeps a secret:

After the Shepherds come to the manger, worshiping Jesus, and telling Mary and Joseph that angels have announced that Jesus Christ is the Savior, Mary keeps a secret: “But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19).

Twelve years later, when Mary and Joseph find Jesus in the Temple with the teachers who are amazed at Jesus, Mary keeps a secret: “…and his mother kept all these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:51).

What secret does Mary keep in her heart?

Mary knows that her Son, Jesus, is the Son of God!

Can you imagine keeping a secret like that?  We’d be tempted to tell everyone: “Hey, lemme tell you about my kid…”  But Mary, full of the Holy Spirit and awed by the Holy Child does not disclose her secret until after Christ has died and been raised from the dead.

Why would Mary keep Jesus’ true identity a secret?

Mary tells us herself when in her beautiful Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) when she refers to her “low estate as [the Lord’s] hand maiden.”  Blessed Mary, despite being one of only 4 people born without Original Sin (Adam, Eve, Mary and, of course, Jesus Christ), considers herself a lowly hand maiden.  As such, it would never be her place to reveal God’s plan, unless God directed her to reveal Jesus’ identity.

Despite the suffering that Mary would experience in her life (the killing of her Son), God offers her consolations:  God allows Mary to understand through the shepherds, the Magi and at the Temple when Jesus is twelve, that indeed her Son is God Himself!

In Luke’s Gospel, Mary reveals her secret so that we can meet, know and come to love the Lord Jesus Christ.

How does Luke know anything about the Infancy of Jesus, let alone what Blessed Mary is keeping in her heart?  

We assume that it is Mary herself who tells Luke these stories, long after Jesus’ death and resurrection!

12-year old Jesus in the Temple - Albrecht Durer (1497)

12-year old Jesus in the Temple – Albrecht Durer (1497)

This Sunday the Church celebrates the mystery of the Holy Family with a focus on Luke 2:41-52: When Mary and Joseph lose Jesus and then find Him in the Temple.

The story is every parent’s nightmare: Mary and Joseph lose Jesus.  After spending the Passover in Jerusalem, the Mary and Joseph leave with a large group of kin to return to Galilee, assuming that the 12-year old Jesus is with them.

Imagine the panic: “We have lost the Son of God!  We have lost the Son of Man!”  Poor Mary and Joseph; this must have been quite traumatic.

But after a day’s travel, they realize that Jesus is not with them.  They take another day to return to Jerusalem  and one assumes spend another day searching for Jesus.   They finally find the 12-year old, astounding the most learned teachers in Israel in the Temple.  When asked why Jesus has caused such anxiety by staying behind, He replies: “Did you know know that I must be in My Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49).

As with all actions of the Savior, the finding of Jesus in the Temple has profound and mysterious insights that point to the awesomeness of Jesus Christ.  Mary and Joseph lose Jesus for three days, fearing the worst and find Him in the Temple, which Jesus calls “His Father’s House”.  This prefigures the Passion where Mary and the disciples lose Jesus for three days, fearing that He is dead, but then find that Jesus has been resurrected and will now dwell forever with the Father.

Whose life, as a 12-year old, offers predictions that replay in the future?

The story of finding Jesus in the Temple is an awe-inspiring mystery!


Simeon with the Christ Child

Simeon with the Christ Child

Today’s Mass reading describes when Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple to “present Him to the Lord” (Luke 2:22-35).  While Mary and Joseph certainly “marveled” (i.e. “to be filled with wonder”) over many things during their lives with Jesus, today’s reading describes the only use of the word “marvel” in the Gospels associated with Mary and Joseph.

What caused Mary and Joseph to marvel?

The righteous and devout Simeon, an old man, is filled with the Holy Spirit and takes Jesus in his arms.  Simeon says:

 “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word;  for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.”

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about Him. (Luke 2:29-33).

It is moving, but why would Mary and Joseph be filled with wonder? (more…)

“Christ-miss” in the Modern World

While the feast of “Christ’s-Mass” dates back to at least the 2nd Century, much of the modern world has lost sight of the mysterious and wonderful Advent of Christ.  For many Christians, rather than renewal in Christ, Christmas is perhaps better described as “Christ-miss”.  “Christ-miss” is celebrated with rampant consumerism, holiday gift-giving, family reunions, partying, vacations and perhaps even attending Christmas Mass, while “missing” the opportunity to renew their faith in Christ.La_Vierge_au_lys

Like the slumbering world that missed Christ’s quiet birth in a Bethlehem stable 2000 years ago, many are sleeping during Advent, embracing “Christ-miss” rather than “Christ-Mass.”  They miss the great miracle of Christ’s continued rule in the modern world; they miss the opportunity to draw closer to Christ and to experience His lasting peace and joy.  Instead, in the deprived darkness of the modern secular “Christ-miss” world, people suffer in darkness, lost in the self-absorption of sinful addictions, lost in battles to promote sexual liberation, the killing of children and the control of the nation’s wealth, lost in transient relationships, broken marriages and the loneliness of going it alone.

The Advent of the Divine Child

Into this broken world, the Light of Christ continues to shine brilliantly during Advent.   (more…)