When God the Father sent His Son into the world He sent Jesus forth with a plan. Yet, Jesus does not deal with us as a builder deals with blueprints, bricks and mortar. Rather, He deals with us personally and calls us to cooperate with Him and to relate to Him personally. So it is that Jesus came into the world through the personal fiat, the personal ‘yes’ of one woman.
May is the month where we celebrate Mary and her ‘yes’ in the life of Jesus. We celebrate the Annunciation to Mary by the Angel Gabriel on March 25th, so it is that in May the life of Jesus was beginning to flower in her womb. Why is it though that Catholic and Orthodox Christians accord her such a high place in the life of faith?
We can of course, never understand Mary without reference to Jesus. When the Father sent His Son into the world with a plan, it was a plan formed long ago. It was a plan that developed from covenants with Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David. God was building a family from a holy couple, to a family, to a tribe, to a nation, and lastly to a kingdom with David. And it was from this final expansion of the family with David that we pick up with Jesus, who was the Son of David. So it was that the kingdom that Jesus preached was made concrete in its fulfillment of the kingdom given to David.
In David’s kingdom there were two people especially important: the prime minister and the queen. Jesus made St. Peter his prime minister (Mt 16:13-19; Is 22:22). Yet who was Jesus’ queen? After all, Jesus wasn’t married (cont. Dan Brown). Yet, in David’s kingdom it was not his wife who was the queen. Rather, it was the Queen Mother who sat upon the throne at David’s right hand (e.g. 1 Kgs 1:19). In fact, every Davidic King is listed, not with the name of his wife, but with the name of the Queen Mother (cf. 1 & 2 Kings). It is noteworthy that Jeremiah addresses them both: “Say to the king and to the queen mother: Come down from your throne” (Jer 13:18). In Hebrew her political title in the kingdom was Gebirah, or “Mighty Woman.” The Queen Mother “literally served as the flesh and blood link between the father and the son” (Crucified Rabbi, 41).
Mary’s ‘yes’ to the Father constitutes the link between father and son: “When the fullness of time came God sent His Son, born of a woman” (Gal. 4:4). Orthodox Christians speak of her as the Divine Directress who helped to initiate Jesus’ first miracle (John 2:1-11). She stands by His side as he reigns from the Cross (cf. Jn 19:25-7). It makes perfect sense that when James and John ask to sit on Jesus’ right and left in His kingdom, Jesus answers that it is “not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared” (Mt 20:23). The seat at Jesus’ right hand is reserved, as it was in David’s kingdom, for the Gebirah, the Queen Mother.
In this month of May, let us call on Mary who sits at Jesus’ right hand and ask her to obtain for us through her Son the grace to say ‘yes’ and be faithful to God’s personal plans for us. Hail Mary…