the dipstick pastor at our church actually manages to hit on something meaningful, almost by accident.
(Atheist types might want to go visit Harvey for a while, this is gonna be bible-ey)
So anyway, the Gospel for today is Luke 1: 39-45.
The gist of the gospel is that Mary goes to visit Elisabeth, and Elisabeth’s child leaps in her womb.
For anyone without a scorecard, Mary is the mother of Jesus; Elisabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. Elisabeth, at the time of John’s conception, is considred barren, and her husband old. No way they’re gonna have a kid, right? Let me quote someone on this subject:
In his hundredth year, or therabouts, God speaks to Abraham, and says “Look, forget about Hagar and Ishmael, you’re gonna have a kid with Sarah”. Abraham, a little freaked about the idea of having a kid when he’s 100, (Sarah herself is 90) says “but how can this be?” God says “Duh! I”m GOD!”
in other words, God does whatever God wants, and what you think is possible or impossible is your limitation, not the limitation of the Author of Natural Law.
Anyway: John the Baptist leaps in Elisabeth’s Womb, and at this point Elisabeth also realizes that the child Mary bears is something remarkable.
If you have faith, and you are of the opinion that this is a historical event, it has a large meaning. And that meaning has been twisted by everyone on the surface of the earth to suit their own purposes for ever.
The fundies regularly accuse Catholics of “Mary worship” which is a lie they tell themselves to make them feel better about a church started by an idiot(Luther, calvin,wesley,etc) instead of by Jesus Christ. Catholics no more worship Mary than easter island statues, but we do venerate her, because she deserves some special consideration.
Most specifically because Mary is in fact the Immaculate COnception. She is the only person conceived without original sin, and because of this, yes, she was perfect. The old adage “We have only ever had one perfect human and look what we did to him” is sort of meaningless in the face of a person who conceived and bore and raised Jesus.
Most fundamentalists I know are very demeaning toward women in general and Mary in particular, and they are often tongue tied with this, giving no legitimate reason. They always resort back to “Well at least we don’t “WORSHIP A HUMAN”. The Creator of the Universe could easily have just made Jesus materialize in thin air, and chose to have Him born of a woman- a very special, very specific woman. And while she takes little place in his life, we know she is there right to the very end, and I cannot imagine the strength of character that it must have taken for a perfect and pure woman to watch her perfect and pure son be castigated, rejected, tortured and murdered.
All the prophets and saints have some final resting place, but Mary was reportedly assumed whole in her bodily form into the afterlife. What historical record of this remains is not provable by any means, it is the choice of the individual to accept or reject any of it out of hand. It is pretty obvious that if she existed and she did bear Christ and watch him live- and die, she was an incredibly remarkable person, and her part in Judeo Christian theology is vital. Disregarding or disrespecting her to minimise her role or the role of women in Christian theology is merely ignorant and self serving. Though it certainly doesn’t surprise me.
We commemorate, today, the arrival of this divine human in the night, like a theif, come to take away our sins. To cast aside his mother as if she were no more important than the basket that carried Moses is not much different than calling her the C word, relegating her role to that of a walking piece of genitalia, only useful for one thing.
Well, the priest, today, made it all about Abortion, and it’s another direction this can be taken, but the fact that he even started me down this road, well, he was a useful tool.
And that’s two self referencing links in one day, and I’d better stop that right now.