Mark faithfully retold Christ’s early preaching, strictly keeping his story within the period of Jesus’ public life that stretched from the time when John was baptizing until the day when Christ rose to heaven (cf. Acts 1:22). Mark mentioned Mary in two brief passages.
In St Mark 6: 1-6, the inhabitants of Nazareth think they know Jesus well and call him the “son of Mary.” This assertion is true, as Mary is actually the mother of Jesus. But at the same time the Nazarenes’ statement reflects a serious shortcoming, because it claims to exhaust all knowledge of Jesus while at the same time ignoring the faith.
The correct way to enter into a relationship with Jesus is described in St Mark 3: 31-35, which evokes a new model of parenthood. Jesus expands the boundaries of his family well beyond the crowd that is sitting around him, and he offers the opportunity to take part to all those who want: the one condition is to obey the will of God.
In truth, since Christ intends to obey the will of the Father, he reveals his identity as the Son (Mk 14:36). Mary, by agreeing to obey the same will of the Father and listening to her Son, discovers and reveals her identity as mother.
So even if Mary is apparently confused by the familiar crowd in search of Jesus, she embraces sacrificial detachment by her open attitude and her fidelity to the Word. For Mark, the mother of Jesus is the one who is the most closely and the most naturally related to the Son: she is the believing mother.
+ Francesco Lambiasi
Bishop of Anagni-Alatri
Vicariate of Rome.
Excerpt from: "Sulle trace del Nuovo Testamento, il popolo di Dio incontra Maria, la Madre." , in: Riparazione Mariana 2001, # 3.