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Angola Marists pay homage to Mary

 

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11/05/2011: Angola

 

src=http://www.champagnat.org/shared/bau/angola.jpgOne member of staff told me, “When l go to see Mary, l always find her with Jesus.” The two are inseparable. It is like the Church and Jesus. When we go to church we will meet Jesus there. This applies to consecrated life. Who can talk of Consecrated life without Jesus ? We shall never succeed to separate a mother and her child. Their unity started in the womb and the cutting of the umbilical cord feels like symbolic. A mother uses intuition in her relationship with her child. The child becomes the central focus of the Mother. Look at the eye contact between Mary and Jesus. He feels secure and safe in the warmth of the mother’s arms. Sometimes l just figure out what Jesus meant to Mary and what Mary meant to Jesus? I feel Jesus had a special place for Mary in her heart and Mary too had a special place for Jesus  in her heart.

A woman in the crowd around Jesus said, “ Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you but Jesus replied, rather blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.” Luke 11;27-28. 

Many times we people in Africa, in general value physical relationships with the ones we love. The woman in the Gospel was thinking like us  in Africa. She concurred with that physical relationships of Mary and Jesus counts. Jesus always corrects us and he did with the woman in the gospel. Discipleship counts in the thinking of Jesus than physical relationship. This means that we have to transcend our a mother –son relationship seen in a physical way and enter at a spiritual level. I heard one day someone telling me that when a wiseman points at the moon, the fool looks at a finger. If discipleship is all that matters, then Mary automatically becomes the first disciple of following Jesus. Jesus wants us to go beyond physical relationships. Some of us who have tasted what it means to be a missionary and  leave our  brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers we gain a different understanding  that comes with faith. In the community of faith which goes beyond blood relationship we find ourselves richer than before. In the church we have more fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters than handful from Makwiniro small christian community. In faith, you mother becomes my mother too. Now I understand why Jesus gave us Mary as the Mother. Is she physically blood mother that l would say she was holding me in her warm hands as we see in the picture there, not at all? Did I suck her breasts as I did with my mother Manesi Nabanda? Not at all. In Baptism l am initiated in the community of faith.

I must say l was once falsely accused here in one country that I stole a child. Upon reaching the police station, I lacked language strength and I had no defense. Do you know who came to my aid? It was a woman with an elephant body,  Stella. I saw in her the realization of a mother. She stood by me together with other women.
When you have the truth with you, you do not fear. A journalist made a total confusion which you could hardly understand. From that time onwards, the words of Jesus made sense to me. What Jesus said that we shall have mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters mpwempweche(numenous) was true. Disciples of Jesus form a family bonded by love difficult to untie. Was Stephen fearful when he was falsely accused?  No. Then in the church, we are never strangers but siblings. As Mary loved Jesus very much, she loves us too, a community built on faith in her  Son.  Mary must have a place in the church that adores her Son. She may tell us more than we now know because she carried him in the womb and presented him in the Temple, kept him in her home at Nazareth, walked with him to Egypt and back, saw him during his public life, interceded for our siblings at a wedding at cana and saw him suffer a cruel death at Calvary where she assumed a title of a Mother of all beloved disciples difficult to name, she never went to see the tomb because she believed he would rise from the dead, she waited for the Pentecost experience, the birth of the Church. That is, she experienced the Incarnation of Jesus and witnessed the Church born of the Holy Spirit. She has a prominent place in the salvation history. I sometimes imagine that some Gospel writers must have acquired some information from Mary and added their own personal experience of three years with Jesus. Mary pray for us to have strong faith like yours. You lived by faith and not by sight.

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Simeon Banda, fms, Matola, Mozambique

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