Once, when the Lord “was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, ‘Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.’ But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ And pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’” Adversaries of the veneration of Mary usually invoke this text to argue that there was nothing special about Her and that Jesus did not even honor Her as a Mother.
Let us not forget however that the Lord spoke these words to people, to whom it had not yet been revealed what we know today. Today we know that She did not simply give birth to the Lord Jesus in the flesh, as other mothers give birth to children without knowing what they will become. We can have no doubt that She was the worthiest of all people, and beyond that — we revere Her as “More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim”. We realize that if She were not, God could not have come to earth. To be that way, She had to “do the will of Her Heavenly Father” in the most perfect way since Her childhood. She knew very well whom she had given birth to, and she “treasured all the words” spoken by Him, or about Him and “pondered them in her heart” (Lk.2:19). (Luke 2:19). We honor Her not just because She was “fortunate” to give birth to such a Son. We honor Her first of all as the Most Holy, Most Pure, Most Blessed, and as a consequence — as the Mother of God. Giving birth to God became the seal of Her greatest righteousness, but people did not know that yet.
People marvelled at the miracles of Jesus and perceived Mary simply as His mother in the flesh. At the same time, the Lord came to establish the highest spiritual kinship. He came to adopt people to the Heavenly Father and restore the primordial fullness of relationships. Indeed, there is a difference between the way a person treats a mother, a brother, or a sister. Adam however had no one except for Eve, and Eve, except for Adam. They were everything to each other. So Christ, “pointing to his disciples”, promised that “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother”. He could not suddenly abandon those who had left everything for Him and go to His Mother in the flesh, who suddenly wanted to speak to Him. What would His teaching be worth?
One might wonder why She acted so ‘selfishly’; why did She suddenly decide in front of everyone to claim special rights to Her Son? Trying to explain a particular act of the Mother of God, we must always proceed from the fact that She is the Most Pure and Most Blessed. Let us recall how John the Baptist, who devoted his whole life to Christ, pretended to be doubtful for the benefit of his disciples and sent them, as if from himself, to ask,
“Are you the One who is to come, or should we expect another”? He wanted the disciples to hear, see and believe for themselves, and he was not afraid to diminish his glory.
There is no doubt that Mary did the same. There is no doubt that She did not need anything but the glory of Her Divine Son. Undoubtedly, with Her request, She wanted to once again give everyone a reason to hear about what is most important in life, about what unites people and adopts them to the Heavenly Father. Undoubtedly, hearing the Savior’s answer, She rejoiced at Her outward humiliation, and His fidelity to Himself, as well as at the fact that the disciples, seeing such an example, would be strengthened even more firmly on the chosen path.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds