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Essays by KT

The Mother of Jesus

Affirming Diversity
Which Way Home
Mis experiencias con español
La figura de la madre
La redención
Manifestations of the Divine Brahma
The Six Models of the Church
Affirmative Action
A Friend Is
A persuadir
Aprovecha el día
Armas de fuego
Asperger's Disorder
ASDs: Autism
Black Friday
Book Intro
Big Boys Dont Cry?
Cancion del pirata
Cell Phones
Cathedral Within
Change the World
Child Care
Civil Society
Christian Family
Organ Donation
Deanne Bray
Drug Testing
Faith in Narnia
Fast Food?
Guns and Games
Grenz Review
The Odyssey
I Am
Jesus the Christ
Keep the Laws!
La ciencia
La inmigración
Louis Braille
Marriage Reflection
Mi lugar de refugio
My Life (Erikson)
My Special Place
Reflection -Marriage
Romance sonámbulo
Public-service values
Semana Santa
Spe Salvi
Teen Suicide
Un Santo legendario
Better World
The Four Loves
"Jesus Freak" Picture
Mona Lupe
Mother of Jesus
Holy Eucharist
Religión en Niebla
The U.S. Economy
Todo es regalo
Trip to NY ...
True Friends
Una lección
Unlikeliest Friends
Santo legendario
Vs. and Verses
What's the Diff?
Walsh Review
Means to be Human
Million dollars

TY131 (Bible as Story)
29 February 2008

Although Mary, the mother of Jesus, is commonly viewed as the first disciple and the most famous woman in Biblical history, the Bible says very little about her life. The four gospels of the New Testament show the life of Mary from the time the angel Gabriel announced to her that she would bear the Son of God to the time of the death of her son. Although there is little about the life of Mary in the Bible, the gospels reveal a lot about the character of Mary throughout their stories.
A character type characterizes an individual in a story by revealing traits of that individual throughout the story, giving the reader a sense of familiarity with the character ("Character" 137). Mary, the mother of Jesus, held some difficult roles. One is that of Joseph's betrothed, who becomes a virgin mother for which she is socially criticized ("Mary"). The other role is that of a mother, forced to watch her son suffer and die ("Mary").
Fitzmyer states that Mary is not only the mother of Jesus, but that she also holds a role in a relationship that goes beyond that of the natural family (71-72). In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, Jesus reveals that his family is those who do the will of God, not the members of his natural family (Matthew 12:46-50, Mark 3:31-35).
Membership in Jesus' family is not to be based on the relationships of kinship that are valued in society. (Pazdan)
Along with these roles, many characteristics of Mary are portrayed throughout the gospels. The gospel of Luke first shows Mary receiving the news that she will bear the Son of God in spite of her virginity (1:26-38). This parallels the story in Luke 1:57-66 of Zechariah's receiving the news of the angel Gabriel that his barren wife, Elizabeth, will bear a son (Fitzmyer 65). Mary's humility is portrayed through her reaction to hearing the greeting of the angel Gabriel, when she was "greatly troubled by" and "pondered" his greeting of, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you" (Luke 1:28-29).
In the canticle of Mary (Luke 1:46-55), she shows her deep love of God as she proclaims his goodness. In Luke's story of Mary's visiting Elizabeth (1:39-45), her blessedness is portrayed. Fitzmyer says that Mary is both "blest" because she was chosen by God to bear his son and "blessed" because she believed and responded in faith (69).
Not knowing God's plans for her, Mary was still willing to allow God to carry out His will. Mary's eagerness to follow God is illustrated in Luke 1:38 when she says,
Behold I am the handmade of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word. (NAB)
I believe this verse also portrays Mary's bravery, along with the gospel of Matthew. In the gospel of Matthew, Mary is first introduced when she finds out that she's "with child" that is not of her betrothed, Joseph (1:18-25).
At a time in history when people were stoned for adultery, which is what this appeared to be the product of, she was submitted to a lot of social criticism. Not only did she have to deal with this, but also she and Joseph were to travel to Judea (Bethlehem) from Galilee (Nazareth) while she was still with child (Luke 2:1-5). In Bethlehem it came time for her to give birth, and she had to have her child, the Son of God, in a manger (Luke 2:6-7). After Jesus was born, they were to travel again; this time they were to flee to Egypt in order to find safety from Herod's plan to kill Jesus (Matthew 2:13-18).
Mary's obedience is also portrayed in the story of their flee to Egypt. When she and Joseph were told to flee, they obeyed (Mark 13-15). Mary's expression of the virtue of patience is portrayed especially in the gospel of Matthew, when she, Joseph, and Jesus stayed in Egypt to await the death of Herod (2:15).
In the story of the child Jesus in the temple, Luke's gospel shows that Mary doesn't have everything figured out. She was informed that she would bear the Son of God, but in this gospel story, she is portrayed as not comprehending this fully. She worries when she cannot find her son (Luke 2:41-52). His reply when she and Joseph find him is,
Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I would be in my father's house? (NAB)
The stories of Mary not only reveal characteristics about her, but they also disclose more about the character of Israel's God. YHWH shows his power again, but in a whole new way through Mary, when he does the "impossible" and makes Mary the virgin mother of his son. Because of the gospels' accounts of Mary, it has also been revealed who the true family of YHWH is. The societal view of a family is not what Jesus states to be family (Pazdan). Jesus rather states that his family is those who hear and act on the word of God (Luke 8:19-21).
Despite the lack of information about the life of Mary outside of Jesus' lifetime, quite a bit is revealed about her throughout the gospels. The writers of these gospels reveal Mary's character type piece by piece and give the reader a sense of familiarity with her.

Works Cited
"Character Types." Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. Ed. Leland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit, Tremper Longman III. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1998. 137-38.
Fitzmyer, Joseph A. "Mary in Lucan Salvation History." Luke the Theologian: Aspects of His Teaching. Mahwah: Paulist, 1989. 57-85.
"Mary the Mother of Jesus." Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. CD-ROM. Ed. Leland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit, Tremper Longman III. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1998.
New American Bible. NY: American Bible Society, 1991.
Pazdan, Mary Margaret. "Mary, Mother of Jesus." Anchor Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Ed. David Noel Freedman. New York: Doubleday, 1992.