4th Wednesday in Lent
In ancient mythologies, god always has a divine consort. There is the marriage of the gods – so that the divine male energy has a complement in the feminine energy of his divine partner. This changes when you come to the Bible in the very first book and in the very first chapter. God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. God does not need a consort to complement Him – both male and female together (it is important to remember this – together) make up the image of God.
The God of the Bible does not marry a divine partner to complement Himself. He marries Israel, poor and needy, unable to give but only receive. And to Israel, God is both Father and Mother. Today’s reading from Isaiah highlights the tender maternal love of God. ‘Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you? But lest we in our misery and despair say these are just words – nice words but still words, Jesus comes to show us this in the flesh.
Amen, amen I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what He sees what the Father doing, for what the Father does, that also the Son will do’ Jesus is the perfect image of the Father. And once again at the most critical part of his life, when He faces death, when every utterance of His is to be treasured and meditated on – Jesus will use the maternal analogy ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those sent to her, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.’ God the Mother Hen. Again when His hour comes, Jesus will liken it to the Hour of a woman – ‘A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come, but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy a child is born into the world’ And on the Cross, as if to assure us that this maternal tenderness will never cease but will continue in the Church, personalized and concretized in the Virgin Mary, He entrust us to the Woman. ‘Woman behold your Son’ – ‘Son behold your Mother’.
Mary is our icon of the tender Father now. In our world where hardness and coldness and violence prevails and with it despair and hopelessness, we are asked to ponder the tenderness of God and to hold on Mary so that the darkness of the world does not extinguish the light of life and hope in our hearts.