The other Mary

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“Mary, the mother of James” Luke 24:10

Mary was clearly a popular name. So was James. This can lead to so much confusion.

This Mary was the mother of James and Joses. James was chosen by Jesus and became an apostle. He is known as James the Less, so as not to be confused with the other James, who was one of the sons of Zebedee. Mary, the mother of James, is also mentioned in Matthew as “the other” Mary. She followed Jesus to Jerusalem, witnessed his death, and then came to the tomb to anoint his body. She and her sons were part of the community that surrounded Jesus. She is one of the trio of Marys in the resurrection story depicted in the gospels: Mary of Magdala, Mary of Clopas, and Mary the mother of James.*

This Mary in Luke’s resurrection account was part of a community and circle of Jesus’s closest friends and fellow travelers. She was a mother of an apostle. She was faithful to Jesus through his death. She was a companion and perhaps friend of Joanna and Mary of Magdalene.

There was more to this woman’s life and faith than this scant biographical sketch. As is often the case, much of her life and story has been lost or left out. However, she is named. She is identified and revealed as a mother, friend, and follower.

Today, spend time in prayer and reflection, expanding these words that depict Mary the mother of James.

What does mother mean to you? Who has mothered you in your life and faith?

What does friend mean to you? Who are your closest faith friends, soul friends?

What does follower mean to you? What is your experience with this word? Where might you, whom might you, be being called to follow in this Risen Life?

Prayer: Holy One, thank you for the friends of Jesus who were faithful to Jesus. Thank you for the family of Mary, James and Joses, who followed Jesus and journeyed with him. Bless my journey with Christ, that I, too, may follow well. Amen. Alleluia.

*Interesting side note: In Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and the Philippines, the three stars aligned on the constellation of Orion’s Belt are named “Tres Marías.”


Photo: “The Three Marys” by Nicholaus Haberschrack (1470)

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