“A sword will pierce your own soul too.”
— Luke 2:35
We are wondering this month about the incarnation, about Jesus’ being divine and human. He is both, but sometimes we downplay his genuine humanity. Sometimes we imagine his divine nature overcoming the weaknesses and shortcomings of his flesh and blood. But that would make Jesus something other than human.
I wonder what Mary thought about the genuine humanity of her son. When he was a cranky baby with teeth coming in, Mary would have comforted him. When he was a youngster with a skinned knee, Mary would have wiped away his tears and cleansed the wound. And when he focused on his mission and got too busy to eat, Mary worried and went with his brothers to find him. It seems they thought he might have gone out of his mind (Mark 3:20-21, 31).
Hardest of all, when soldiers stripped him naked and flogged him, when they drove nails through his flesh and bone to pin him to a cross, when his closest friends abandoned him, when he cried out in anguish, and when a spear opened a gash in his side, Mary stood by helplessly. She saw every bit of it. And she felt it all in the depths of her being. As Simeon had warned her, a sword pierced her soul too.
How human was Jesus? Human enough for his mother’s heart to break.
Jesus, your mother loved you. She cared for you. She worried about you. She cried over you. How blessed you were to have your mother! Amen.