Jesus, Mary and Mary

Jesus, Mary and Mary September 4, 2018

A. Imagine What Would Have Happened If…

…Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary the companion of Jesus had adopted the tools of modern political pundits to intervene on Jesus’ behalf over the last 24 hours of his Earthly life. Here’s the scenario:

News arrives that he had been arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, betrayed for 30 pieces of silver by one of his closest disciples and abandoned by ten of the other eleven. The two Mary’s rush to the courtyard of the High Priest where, they’ve learned, Jesus has been taken. They arrive just in time to hear Peter swear that he is not a follower of the Galilean preacher and, in fact, never even heard of him. The Mary’s are shocked; Peter sees them and blanches but they don’t have time to deal with him. They find the apostle John and he, through personal contacts, manages to get them into the ‘trial room’ where Jesus is being interrogated and even slapped about. The Magdalene freaks out and stridently berates the High Priest and his minions. Mary joins in, loudly chastising the group for their disgraceful behavior. The High Priest says, “get these stupid women out of here!” and they are bustled back into the courtyard. There is no sign of Peter.

They later learn that Jesus is to be transferred to the home of Pilate. They arrive there only to hear the excited chatter of the crowds and the false accusations as Pilate deigns to entertain the Jewish ‘mob’ for whom he has utter disdain. The Mary’s shout out, “He is innocent of these crimes; for God’s sake, can’t you figure that out!?” Pilate is startled and surprised that two women had the courage but also the disrespect to shout at him in public. His legalistic mind finds a way out when he learns that the accused is from Galilee which is in king Herod’s jurisdiction. So, he washes his hands of the affair and sends him off to Herod whom he knows to be in town for the Passover Festival.

The two Mary’s follow the sick procession of soldiers and crowd, calling out to Jesus who turns and sees them but is yanked forward by the security detail. Herod is surprised and delighted to finally meet this wonder worker but utterly disappointed at his refusal to do any magic or even respond to his questions. “Dumb asshole” Herod thinks, “Doesn’t he realize that I could throw him a life line?” So, he now resorts to mockery and ridicule. This is too much for the Mary’s who shout out, “Leave him alone, you drunken lout! He’s twice the man you’ll ever be.” Herod is startled and then has them ejected. Tiring of this taciturn, disappointing moron, he decides – as a gesture of goodwill – to return Jesus to Pilate with the comment that, far from being a dangerous revolutionary, this Jesus character is a feckless, tongue-tied country bumpkin.

Pilate is gratified at this gesture of reconciliation because he and Herod had been at loggerheads; but he is also annoyed at having to deal with this situation for the second time. He has Jesus stripped and whipped and, once more, made fun of by the bored soldiery; and then brought out to be viewed by the priests and the crowd: “Ecce homo” (behold the man). This was too much for the Mary’s who wept and then screamed, “You criminal. Have you no pity in you, or sense of justice!” Pilate has had enough of these crazy females. He turns aside to the centurion on duty and curtly orders him to crucify this trouble-maker with the two bandits who were already on today’s extermination roster. He darts one final look of disdain at the sobbing women and goes indoors to have a well-earned siesta.

It took a while for a third cross to be located and the now-greatly-swollen procession set out for Golgotha. The Mary’s only manage once to get close to him and soothe him with their eyes. But, basically, the journey was a blur. Arriving at the hilltop, they are pushed aside as the bawdy soldiers set about their well-practiced tasks of stripping, nailing and elevating the victims.

The priests take this opportunity to justify their part in this execution and the crowd looks on at this bloody, regular form of entertainment. In their hearts, the two Mary’s curse this volatile mob which, over the course of three years, had benefitted from his love, teachings and healings. They wish all kinds of evil on them, hoping that each of them might one day also experience that level of heartbreak.

When it was all over and the body had been plucked from the cross and laid in the dark tomb, they sought out the ‘inner circle’ whom they found cowering in the ‘upper room.’ The Mary’s gave full vent to their anger, “You shower of cowards; you who preened yourselves and promised yourselves high offices in his future kingdom. You’re not fit to wipe the dust off his sandals!” They noticed that Judas was missing, so they set out to find him. They ran him to earth in an ale house, slaking his thirst after a busy day. The Magdalene dug her nails into his shocked face and raked his left cheek. She screamed, “You spawn of Satan; may you rot in hell!” Judas ran and as he did, the awful weight of the betrayal unhinged him. Three hours later, the Mary’s came upon his body hanging from a tree. The Magdalene had the last laugh; she stood in front of his lifeless, dangling form and heaved a huge, venom-filled spit towards his purple, blood-bloated face.

 

B. Imagine What Would NOT Have Happened if…

This is very simple. What would NOT have happened if the two Mary’s had acted in that fashion is that there would never have been:

  1. A Resurrection
  2. An Ascension
  3. A Pentecost

Nor

4. A Jesus Movement

 

C. Imagine What DID Happen Because…

But the two Mary’s and Jesus were part of a team who agreed, in a pre-conception contract, to come into the world together to radically shift our understanding of God, of the Self, of the Neighbor and of the Mission of individual incarnation – yours and mine. They represented the Yin and Yang of divinity; the ‘female’ and ‘male’ faces of God; to exemplify for us the only way out of the endless cycle of fear, anxiety, prejudice, xenophobia, vendetta, violence and warfare.

It was the compassionate, forgiving, understanding responses of Jesus and the two Mary’s that created the energy for his resurrection and ascension; and for Pentecost and the ‘Jesus Movement.’ Without the two Mary’s there wouldn’t have been a resurrection, an ascension, a Pentecost or a ‘Jesus Movement.’ It was the Magdalene’s ‘search’ for the body on Easter Sunday that enabled Jesus to overcome death. And it was the presence of his mother, Mary, in the same upper room, that managed to hold the newborn, shivering Jesus Movement to her bosom as they awaited Pentecost. In a throw-away line, grossly redacted by the patriarchal re-working of history, we read in Acts 1:13-14, that after the Ascension they went back to the city:“When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.”

Magdalene got deleted and Mary the mother of Jesus is included almost as an afterthought, being part of the ‘some women’ subgroup. Is it any wonder that our Yang-lopsided history – as a world and as a Christian Church – has continued to produce all of the qualities that Jesus, Magdalene and Mary came to dissolve?

When will our churches and our ‘Christian’ politicians, bankers, soldiers and media wake up?

In time, Mary the mother would be reduced to simply an obedient handmaid not even deserving of priesthood because of her gender; and Magdalene would wind up being depicted as a repentant whore. And Jesus would be deified by the same Christian churches that eviscerated his teachings on love, compassion and forgiveness – even of the enemy.

And, so, this ‘incarnated trinity’ of avatars is reduced to a docile mother, a reformed harlot and ‘the only son of God’.

Isn’t it time for a community-wide “Mea maxima culpa!”?

 

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