Posted on: 2017-05-17

A cry for help

These are times when in Nigeria we all look up and around for help and assistance. Everybody it seems, feels the pinch of the hard times, the rich, for lack of security and safety, the poor, for lack of means and food. Between assassination, kidnapping, ritual killing, robbery terrorism and spiritual and economic recession, we all surely need help. All through nature and the Scriptures we generally understand that mothers make the best intercessors and supporters for children in times of trouble. The love of mothers surpass all imaginable odds just to protect and sustain their children. Even babies know this by instinct and therefore trust their mothers more than anyone else. An old church hymn supported that fact well: “As a child rests on its mother’s knees so I place myself in your quiet love”. Enter Mary mother of Jesus! Little surprise that at the last precious moments which he spent in this world, Jesus, from the cross, practically connected his mother to the “disciple that he loved” and said those precious words: “Woman, this is your son….This is your mother” (Jn. 19:26-27). John the disciple, thereafter took Mary into his home. That is another reason why the ongoing Marian Year has great relevance for Christians in this period. The mother at the centre of this celebration, Mary the virgin of Nazareth, is a credible model and intercessor for practically everybody.

Leading the youth

The youth among us surely have a lesson to learn from Mary. She was one like them when she got the great call and received God’s favour as a young virgin. She is a reminder to all young people that virtues and Godliness are not at all alien to youth and that God calls the young, as he does the old, to work for the redemption of his creation. Mary did not resist the call to holiness even in her youth nor did she shy away from carrying the responsibility of bearing Jesus as God willed. Rather, she made a personal act of surrendered when the angel announced to her the historic assignment. She said: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word” (Lk. 1:38). No surprise therefore that 100 years ago the Virgin appeared to three shepherd children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta at Fatima and through them delivered all important messages of repentance and peace to humanity.

The model for Mothers

Mary remains the mother-to-be and mother-per-excellence from whom all must learn. How different she is from some mothers-to-be who today for whom pregnancy is a burden to be endured if not a tragedy to be discarded! Mary immediately took pride in the child in her womb, in spite of the difficult circumstances by which it came. She quickly and proudly visited her cousin, Elizabeth to bring her joy and courage in her own shame. She certainly showed great pride in her unborn baby, declaring in herr ageless song of praise the Magnificat: “from henceforth, all generations shall call me blessed” (Lk 1: 46-55). As a mother, Mary was always present to Jesus even when she could not understand his extraordinary nature. She pondered in her heart strange things said about him as a child. She went looking for him in the temple when he got lost. (Lk. 2: 33-51). She was looking out for him as he performed his ministry also Mk. 3:31-35). Mary was at the foot of the cross where Jesus formally handed her over to humanity and humanity to her through the apostle John (Jn.19). Tradition stipulates that she even held his corpse in her arms. Yet she did not question God’s purpose or blaspheme. Thereafter she stayed with God’s plan revealed through her Son, staying with the Church. That is why she was present with the Church in constant prayer even after Jesus had died. Such an eloquent model as she, is needed for the times we live in today! Stay where Mary is and you will surely receive the Holy Spirit of God!

Mother for tough seasons

Today, therefore we must remember how the intervention of Mary at Cana in Galilee teaches us more the honour and power with which she is endowed (Jn. 2). The full meaning of Jesus’ words “Son behold your mother” comes to us if we contemplate her role and influence at that first weeding in Cana. Mary did not need to be invited specifically for the need at hand to act on it. She, on her own, noticed the problem, turned herself into the Mother of the Day, spoke to her son and rescued the hapless couple. She spoke the words chosen as theme of the Marian Year in Oyo Diocese:  “They have no wine”, and Jesus acted (Jn. 2:3-11). Such is the power of this woman, filled with the Holy Spirit! Those who welcome her into their life, abode and families will always enjoy that intercession. So, son, daughter, behold your mother. Mary has that mandate from her Son, Jesus to help us. Even if we fail in our duties often, she will always remain for thise who invoke her, “Mother of the Day” and “Mother of the Church”, a great intercessor, until her Son returns. Happy Marian Year to all!