Within Christianity, there are still many misconceptions regarding Mother Mary. One of them is the idea that if we honour Mother Mary, then we ultimately love Jesus less, or that He is unhappy about this. Many Christians are still stuck on this issue, as well as many other issues, and are confused as to why Mother Mary is honoured so much by the Catholic Church. This article, one of many, will dive into these difficult questions and one by one, clear each misconception that exists.
OLD TESTAMENT IS THE SHADOW OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
Before we begin to unravel this topic, it is important to understand the fact that the New Testament is a continuation of the Old Testament. The Old Testament and the New Testament go hand-in-hand. The New Testament fulfils the promises in the Old Testament. Also, the Old Testament is the shadow of the New Testament, and the New Testament testifies this in Hebrew 10:1: “Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the true form of these realities,” and in Romans 5:14: “Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come.” Therefore, in order to understand the New Testament realities, we must look into the Old Testament, as well as the history of the Jewish people.
MOTHER MARY FROM GENESIS TO REVELATION:
From Genesis to Revelation, Mother Mary is present. In Genesis, we see 3 characters: Adam, Eve and Serpent. In the last book, too, we see 3 characters: New Adam, New Eve and Serpent. We see in Genesis 3:15, God saying to the serpent, “ I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” Although Eve was the woman present at the time this was said, “the woman” this verse refers to cannot be Eve. Eve had already committed sin and is in Satan’s company, so there cannot be enmity between them. Therefore, “the woman” who is not in the company of the serpent, thus has enmity with him, and is considered an enemy of Satan, must be a woman born with no sin. This “woman” can only therefore be Mother Mary. According to the Bible, if something or someone is mentioned in the beginning and the end, it means that thing or person is present all throughout, from beginning to end.
Although many may think that Mother Mary is first introduced in the New Testament, we can actually begin to see her image forming from the first book in the Bible, Genesis. From Romans 5:18-19, we know that Jesus is the new Adam who came to Earth to rectify the sin committed by the first Adam in Genesis. The old Adam disobeyed and committed sin, however the new Adam, Jesus, was born without sin and obeyed, leading to the forgiveness of sins. If this is so, then there must also be a new Eve who obeyed and was also born without sin. This new Eve is Mother Mary.
WHY DID JESUS CALL MOTHER MARY ‘WOMAN?’
The concept of “woman” is also mentioned again in the New Testament, by Jesus Himself. To understand this, we must first understand that the gospel of John mirrors the book of Genesis. In the book of Genesis, chapter 1 describes the 6 days of creation and chapter 2 is the marriage of Adam and Eve; he called Eve ‘woman’ for the first time here. In the gospel of John, the first chapter speaks of 6 days of events and chapter 2 speaks of a marriage, the wedding at Cana (John 2:12); during this wedding, the New Adam called the New Eve ‘woman.’ In fact, “woman” is used to refer back to Genesis and the idea of the new Eve. Mother Mary, at the wedding, understood why running out of wine was a problem for the family (absence of wine symbolises absence of grace) and so invited Jesus to begin His salvific ministry of bringing back the grace. The old Eve, at the Garden of Eden, invited the old Adam to commit sin, whereas the new Eve, Mary, invited the new Adam, Jesus, to remove the sin.
The second time “woman” is mentioned is at the cross. When God punished Adam and Eve, they were both standing under the tree they had eaten from. In John 19:25, this same image is mirrored by Mother Mary standing under the cross- the cross being the sign of the tree of good and bad, and Mother Mary symbolising the new Eve. St John symbolises the Church, the mystical body of Christ, the new Adam. Jesus, who called Mother Mary ‘woman,’ was the same God who prophesied about the coming of new Eve, who is Mother Mary (Genesis 3:15). Just as Eve was called the mother of the living, Mother Mary was appointed as the mother of all the ‘living’ (who accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord and Saviour – thus, St. John is a symbolic representation of those who are living).
MOTHER MARY, THE QUEEN:
Going back to the question of why the Catholic Church honours Mother Mary so much – simply because she is the mother of Jesus. The more we love her, the more we love Him. According to Jewish tradition, it is not the wife, but the mother of a king who is honoured as the queen. If then we consider Jesus as the King, if we accept Christianity as a continuation from the Old Testament and Judaism, then this leaves Mother Mary as the Queen of Heaven and Earth.