Exploring Our Faith Volume II: Mary the First Disciple Part III

Continuing with our crash course in Mariology for our Scouting blog, I want to begin with addressing the issue of Jesus’ brothers and sisters and then move onto two more important types of Mary from the Old Testament.  The Catholic Church 100% believes that Jesus had no brothers and sisters from Mary.  Did he after step-brothers or step-sisters through Joseph?  Maybe, but I personally do not believe so.  I think that it is more likely that Jesus’ so called brothers and sisters were really his cousins.  I think Scott Hahn explains it very well:

“This is virtually a nonissue for anyone who has a glancing familiarity with Hebrew customs.  The Hebrew word for “brother” is a more inclusive term, applying to cousins as well.  In fact, in ancient Hebrew there is no word for cousin.  To a Jew of Jesus’ time, one’s cousin was one’s brother.  This familial principle applied in other Semitic languages as well, such Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke.  Furthermore, precisely because Jesus was an only child, His cousins would even assume the legal status of siblings for Him, as they were His nearest relatives.  Finally, the word “first born” raises no real difficulty, because it was a legal term in ancient Israel that applied to the child who “opened the womb,” whether or not the mother bore more children afterwards”. – Scott Hahn: Hail Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God.
 
Moving on, one of my least favorite titles of Mary growing up was Mary “Queen of Heaven.”  I grew up with the idea that if Mary was made queen by God that she was now somewhat His equal.  From my studies in school and from reading books by Scott Hahn and Fulton Sheen, I have learned that my idea of what a “queen” was wrong.  I had a very medieval European idea of what a queen was, what I needed was a Jewish sense of what a queen was.  In Medieval Europe the queen was the wife of the king but in ancient Israel the king had many wives.  For example King Solomon had over 100 wives (poor man), but he only had one mother.  Therefore the true queen in the Jewish sense was not the wife of the king but rather his mother.  Mary therefore is not queen because she was equal to God the Father but because she was the mother of the Son of God.  Another key to Mary’s title is that in ancient Israel, when one needed a pardon, one would go to the queen mother and ask her to intercede on your behalf to the king.  Can you imagine yourself as an ancient Israelite convicted of a crime asking the queen mother to intercede on your behalf even up to the moment of your execution?  Does this not bring the closing of the Hail Mary into a more dramatic focus?  Pray for us sinners (intercede for us guilty people) now and at the hour of death.
 
One of my most favorite images of Mary is that she is the Ark of the Covenant.  The Ark of the Covenant was a special box designed by God that the Israelites carried around through the dessert as a symbol of God’s presence.  Inside the Ark of the Covenant was the 10 Commandments, a jar or manna, and Moses’ shepherd staff.  Mary carried within her womb Jesus who is the New Law of Love, the Bread of Live, and the Good Shepherd leading us into freedom.  Once again Mary tells us more about who Jesus is.
 
I will finish today with one last thought.  With all the effort that God put into choosing the time and place that He would be born, do you think that He would not have put such effort into choosing His mother?