‘Do what ever he tells you’. Mary’s farewell note

A. D. Paul

Why is Mary not more prominent in Jesus’ public ministry? What are we to make of Jesus’ apparent lack of warmth to his mother? Mary’s role is in preparing her son for his mission, writes A. D. Paul, a retired professor of English from Kerala, India.

It is impossible to write a biography of Mary from the references in the Bible. This is because of the paucity of accounts about her in the holy writ. There are a couple of references about her in connection with the infancy of Jesus. However, in the public life of Jesus, Mary is somewhat marginalised. Mention about her in Jesus’ childhood is unavoidable because Mary is the mother and Jesus her baby. This exalted position of Mary as the mother of the Saviour is manifest at the Annunciation in the words of the Angel Gabriel; at the meeting with Elizabeth her cousin; at the nativity, and at the ceremony of her purification in the temple. However, after her striking intervention at the time of Jesus’ commencement of his public ministry, Mary seems to pull out, appearing in rare and significant occasions as a mute spectator. Was the command, ‘do whatever he tells you’, (Jn. 2.5) her sign-off? From that moment those who followed him occupy centre stage and Mary maintains a low profile. In later incidents, to any mention of Mary as his mother, Jesus turns a deaf ear.

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