Years ago, one of our kids asked if God had a sense of humor. Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that Jesus certainly did, judging by last week’s readings, particularly on Good Friday.
One of the perks of writing occasionally for the Bellarmine Forum blog is receiving a bit of fan mail now and then. A letter from a reader in response to my piece, “The Most Powerful Woman” (Jan. 17, 2022) brought an interesting insight from Dan Burke of Golden Valley, Minnesota. I had asked why Jesus called His Mother “woman” (later described as a term of endearment by Fr. Joseph Hurtuk, SM, who teaches at the local seminary). Mr. Burke went further in his explanation:
“I see that a respondent says that ‘woman’ was a term of endearment. I have heard that before, and we can trust it to be true, but I think it remains startling to everyone. I was never really satisfied until I was shown more. Lightly outlined, it is as follows.
“In Genesis, on the sixth day, God created man and woman. In Chapter Two, Adam, seeing “bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh,’ calls her ‘Woman.’ Soon she is named ‘Eve’ because she is the Mother of all the living…”.
“From the cross, Jesus again calls her ‘woman’: ‘Woman, behold thy son,’ and John is told to consider her his Mother. The Woman, Mary, is the last Eve, Mother of all who live in Christ.
“God renamed Abram ‘Abraham,’ Jacob became ‘Israel,’ Simon became ‘Peter.’ Mary is given the titles of ‘Woman’ and ‘Mother’.” Genesis tells us there is enmity between the serpent and the woman, and Revelation 12 shows the serpent – a dragon, in fact – in battle with the woman, Mary.”
“Woman,” He called her. Was He using the term to let us know who she really is, she who conquers Satan? Or rather, conquered Satan by saying “yes” to be the Mother of God? Is this a little inside joke?
I am not talking about a Disney switch here, making the original Captain Marvel – a male – into a female to pander to the feminists. The holy Mother of God is the real thing.
The realization of the other inside joke – forgive me – came in the reading of the Passion at the Good Friday Service at a local nursing home. Here they come, the soldiers and gang of thugs from the Pharisees.
“Whom do you seek?” Jesus Christ asks.
“Jesus of Nazareth.”
“I am,” He replies.
Using the words Moses heard from the burning bush, Jesus Christ tells them He is God the Almighty. And I confess, I did do a bit of a Cecil B. DeMille voice on that one.
These are words for eternity. He is telling them He is the Lord of all.
They didn’t get it, we still don’t get it.
There are so many touches of grace and mercy along our paths in life, so many touches of humor and we don’t get it, even when they are spelled out pretty clearly. But now, perhaps, thanks to Mr. Burke, I’ll pay more attention.
This article, Inside Jokes is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
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