Of all the oddities in the version of our Faith offered by Bosco, is the one in which he maintains that Mary was not a follower of her son. He cites Mark 3:34-35 as though it meant Mary was not also his follower, and supports his misreading by misreading Mark 3:21, telling us that Mary thought Jesus was ‘mad’. For Bosco, as, sadly, for others, this passes for reading the word of God.
As we saw last time, this form of reading involves two forms of spiritual arrogance: the first is to suppose that one knows how to read the book we have through the Church better than the Church itself; and secondly, it involves ignoring what else the Bible has to say on the subject.
On Bosco’s version we are asked to believe that Mary, who was told by an angel that she was the bear the Messiah and who submitted to God’s will and praised him, somehow forgot all of that, and doubted her Son’s destiny. That would be some amnesia, and would require Bosco to explain to us how, at Cana, she knew he could turn water into wine. It would also require him to explain why and when she became a believer, as we see her in Acts when the Spirit descends.
The evidence is overwhelming that Mary believed the revelation she had received, so let us explain what the verses which seem not to fit mean. Let us take the most egregious misreading first. Mark 3:21, even in the King Jame’s version, says that And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself. There is no mention of the mother of Jesus, so quite why Bosco thinks Mary thought her Son mad, only he can tell us. As for the other Markan verse, again, read in context, Jesus is reminding us that all who follow him have a family relationship with him.
The interesting question here is why, in the face of the evidence of Luke that Mary knew her Son was the Messiah, and in the face of the evidence she was with Him at Calvary and with the Apostles when the Spirit descended at the first Pentecost, some people have so much of a problem with Our Lady that they resort to telling lies about her? The main lie is one repeated by Bosco ad nauseam and that is that Catholics treat Mary like some ancient Greeks treated Diana of the Ephesians – that is they worship her. There is clearly some visceral problem here.
The most likely explanation is the the very patriarchal nature of the societies of the sixteenth century out of which Protestantism emerged, and Mark Shea does a good job outlining this argument, which to my mind goes to the heart of the problem. The Bible, like the Church, has always been clear on this – every generation is to call Our Lady ‘blessed’, and we do, every generation acknowledges that her soul magnifies the Lord, and we are. Let us hope and pray that one day Grace will be given to those like Bosco, who rely on their own reading and treat it as infallible.