From Nazareth to a universal motherhood

Although the environment in which the Holy Family lived was only a modest rural village - "Can something good come out of Nazareth?" – Mary's horizon soon extended beyond Nazareth.

A few kilometers away was Sephoris, the Roman city of Galilee

Sephoris, the capital of Galilee, was only a few miles from Nazareth. Joseph probably helped rebuild the city. Mary would visit its market from time to time. There Jesus came into contact with a Roman city, with its theater, its villas and its banks. A new culture, that of the occupying force, lay before his eyes.

He certainly remembered it when he made his parables: the banker and the judge (whom he may have known at Sephoris) have a prominent place.

Jerusalem, the site of three annual pilgrimages

At the age of twelve, Jesus went to the Temple of Jerusalem to make his bar mitzva, to become the "son of the commandment," like every young Jew. He talked with the doctors who admired his alert mind. He discovered the Temple with its priests, its merchants, and its motley and noisy crowd. Joseph recited the traditional blessing: "Blessed are you, Lord, who freed me from the responsibility of this child."

To his parents who were looking for him after three days, Jesus answered that he must be tending to his Father’s business. Mary did not understand, but kept all this in her heart.

From Cana in Galilee, to the Calvary of Jerusalem

At the foot of the Cross, Jesus as he was dying turned to his mother and entrusted to her his beloved disciple: "Woman, here is your son" (Jn 19:26).

Here, as in Cana of Galilee (Jn 2: 4), Jesus used the word "Woman."

The "Woman" represents the people of Israel, from whom Jesus came.

At the same time, the "Woman" symbolizes the new Israel, which Mary thoroughly represents when she gives the servants her advice to obey the words of Jesus.

The "Woman" is also the new Eve. At the hour of glorification, the Crucified crushed the head of the old serpent. And since the first woman had been associated with the work of death, the mother of Jesus is an associate to the work of Life.

Jesus gives the disciple to the woman to be her son, and from that day he takes her into his home (Jn 19:26, 27), that is to say in his own property, which makes of him a disciple: Jesus’ inheritance, faith, love, all the space of the Spirit in which he dwells.



Frédéric Manns