Today’s reading: Matthew 12: 38-50
Today we see the Scribes and Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign. Jesus refuses to give a sign. Instead, He says the only sign that will be given is the “sign of Jonah”. That like Jonah spent three days in the belly of the whale, so the Son of Man will spend three days in the belly of the earth. This is a unambiguous reference to his death and resurrection. What is particularly interesting it the Jesus then gives two Old Testament examples of Gentiles who heard about the God of Israel and repented. He contrasts them with the current generation of Jews who will reject him. They have the revelation of the messiah but they don’t recognize what is in front of them. That remains true of every generation. In our day we have the full revelation of Christianity, yet despite it being right in front of many people, they reject it.
Next, we see Jesus’ apparent rejection of his mother Mary when she come to speak with him. We read Jesus’ famous statement “Who is my mother? … Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Sometimes this verse is used to diminish the importance and relevance of Mary.
First, it should be straight forward to understand that Jesus could not be speaking poorly about his mother. That would violate the fourth commandment to honor your mother and father. God, who gave us the Commandments, wouldn’t be violating them even in the least. What then are we to make of this scene?
What Jesus is doing here is he is emphasizing that relationship to Him is more important that familial relationships. Those that are in relationship with Jesus are as close, if not closer, than family. Notice, what Jesus says is that, “whoever DOES THE WILL of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Again, we see Jesus emphasizing that it is not faith alone that puts you in relation to him but those who do something, specifically the will of the Father. Now, if there was any human person who did the will of the Father more perfectly than Mary, I can’t guess who that would be. Mary is the new Eve and her “Yes” is the yes that undoes the “No” of the original Eve. In fact, when she says yes to the invitation of the angel Gabriel her statement is, “May it done unto me according TO YOUR WILL.” So Mary is not only Jesus’ mother, she is His first and greatest disciple. She is twice blessed.
Tomorrow: Matthew 13:1-23