Friday, February 20
Matthew 16:24 –Then Jesus told his disciples, If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
Mary, May I Speak to You about Jesus?
The book of Matthew affirms the fact that Jesus was a preacher, teacher, healer and traveler throughout Galilee. In fact, Jesus visited not only the great and wealthy cities, but the poor, obscure villages. Surely as Jesus went from place to place, He made plans. Perhaps, as many of us dream of traveling, we have a prepared Bucket List. Maybe that Bucket List reflects some priorities, goals, and a few people we want to visit. Do you have such a Bucket List?
Well, I don’t have a Bucket List, but what I do have is a People-I-Would-Like-To-Meet-For-Lunch List. I have never met these people, but certainly have some questions to discuss at Panera’s. Some, like Barbara Walters, the Dalai Lama, Queen Elizabeth, Elie Wiesel, and Billy Graham, are still alive. Others would have to join me for lunch posthumously: Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Maya Angelou.
At the very top of my list has always been Jesus’ mother, Mary. There are so many questions I would ask her. “What was it really like to raise Jesus? What did they talk when he was growing up? How did she deal with the disciples after the Resurrection?” Mary, I would say, “Your son was the greatest storyteller of all time. Did you tell him stories when he was a little boy?”
I would ask if she knew in advance that her son was going to spend 40 days in the wilderness by himself. Did he tell her that he would be fasting, praying, and practicing self-denial before his inevitable death? I would want to know if, as Jesus’ mother, she was also silently getting ready for what was to come. Certainly, Mary led a mysterious, reclusive life but there is no doubt that she, like us, loved her son and experienced similar feelings during the days leading up to Easter.
May all of us set our goals toward a more significant Lent—one that includes a dialogue with the most important people in our lives. May we experience a more meaningful time of prayer and gain a better understanding of the importance of a mother and son who made the ultimate sacrifice. As we become my followers, may we more diligently listen to the word of God and devote ourselves to prayer with greater earnestness, so that with minds and hearts are renewed. May that help us reach a more worthy celebration of Easter as we deny ourselves and take up the cross in our own way.
Prayer: Loving God, we come to you during Lent remembering Jesus and his mother, Mary. You saw Mary as a woman of faith, one who would become the mother of Jesus, our rock and our salvation. May we be like Mary—the brave one, the valiant mother who suffered. May this time of Lent grant us strength for life’s journey, courage for times of suffering, the power of forgiveness, the joy of faith, and hope for new life. Amen