10th Saturday in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Mary
This morning we hear the Word incarnate commending restraint of speech: Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’, and your ‘No’ mean ‘No’. Anything more is from the Evil One. That is a counter-cultural teaching if ever there was one. With all of our society’s stress on communication, whether written or oral, Jesus steps in and says that any speaking more than is necessary comes from the Evil One.
This is one of the things I think Jesus learned from his mother. Mary said “Yes” when she meant yes, and it was the most important yes that was ever uttered: yes, she would conceive and bear the Son of God. But apart from her Magnificat and the intervention at Cana, the Gospels show us a Virgin who preferred to keep silence. Her life was largely a life of silence, a silence of adoration of the Word of God.
She was in Christ, as St Paul puts it, before anyone else was, redeemed by him from the moment of her Immaculate Conception. In Mary there is a new creation because of Christ’s redeeming work; the old creation with its original sin has passed away; and now new things have come. And all this is from God, who preserved Mary from any stain of sin, and who reconciled us to himself through Christ.
In this new creation, Mary enters into a new silence and is transformed by it after the example of her Son, the Word who reduced himself to silence. And like her Son, Mary’s life goes on, from silence to silence, from a silence of adoration to a silence of transformation.
Mary’s silence is not the silence of someone who is hesitant in speaking or someone who is helpless. It is a silence more eloquent, if I may say so, than her own Magnificat. After Cana, everyone in the Gospel speaks, and Mary says nothing at all. Her experience of the Word made silent made her all the more silent when the Word chose to speak. All Galilee and Judea is stirred up by Jesus, and Mary keeps a holy silence. The reason for her silence is given to us by St Luke: Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.
Like her, may we and all mortal flesh keep silence, and with fear and trembling stand before the King of kings, made flesh in the womb of Mary, made present on our altar.