Mary, the Mother of James and Joseph (Fr. Varghese Paul, S.J.)

Mary, the Mother of James and Joseph is mentioned as such by name both by Mathew and Mark. This Marys name is always mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels together with Mary Magdalene.

Describing the scene at the foot of the Cross Mathew says, There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee and helped him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of James and Joseph, and the wife of Zebedee (Mt 27, 55-56).

Mathew clearly says that there were many women, who had followed Jesus from Galilee and helped him and his disciples. Obviously these women helped Jesus and his followers with money as well as their motherly services during Jesus arduous itinerant ministry. They also followed Jesus to Jerusalem. So we find them at the foot of the Cross and also at the tomb of Jesus.

In fact, only Mary Magdalene is mentioned by name as the woman at the tomb of Jesus by all the evangelists. Mathew says, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb (Mt 28, 1). Since Mary the mother of James and Joseph is mentioned elsewhere in Mathew and in Mark together with Mary Magdalene, the biblical scholars believe that the other Mary mention in Mathew (28, 1) is the same as Mary the mother of James and Joseph.

Mary the mother of James and of Joseph not only witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus but she also shared with Mary Magdalene and Salome the shock and surprise of finding the stone covering the tomb rolled away from the tomb on the first day of the week.

Mark says, After the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices to go and anoint the body of Jesus. Very early on Sunday morning, at sunrise, they went to the tomb. On the way they said to one another,Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb? (It was a very large stone.) Then, they looked up and saw that the stone had already been rolled back (Mk 16, 1-4).

These women were lucky to hear the news that Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified has been raised! They also received the commission to go and give this message to his disciples that Jesus has been raised (see Mk 16, 5-7). But Mark notes that the women were distressed and terrified with the news that they said nothing to any one because they were afraid (Mk 16, 8). On their way Jesus himself appears to them and commission them, Suddenly Jesus met them and saidPeace be with you. They came up to him took hold of his feet, and worshipped him.Do not be afraid, Jesus said to them.Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me (Mt 28, 9-10).

But Luke shows them giving the message to the apostles who, however, did not believe them because the message came from women! Then the women remembered his words, returned from the tomb, and told all these things to the eleven disciples and all the rest. The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the mother of James; they and the other women with them told these things to the apostles. But the apostles thought that what the women said was nonsense, and they did not believe them (Lk 24, 8-11).

In the forth Gospel John mentioned only Mary Magdalene visiting the tomb of Jesus on early Sunday morning. Earlier in his description of the scene at the foot of the Cross John mentions the name of three women called Mary, Standing close to Jesus Cross were his mother, his mothers sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene (Jn 19, 25).

In this list we do not see the name of Mary, the mother of James mentioned. In stead we see the name of Mary, the wife of Clopas. And this Mary, the wife of Clopas is mentioned only in the Forth Gospel.

Some bible scholars identify Mary the Mother of James and Joseph with Mary, the wife of Clopas mentioned in the Gospel according to St. John. Ronald Brownrigg says in Whos Who the New Testament: If these two characters are identical, then this Mary and her husband Clopas were parents of James the Younger and of Joseph (p.174). If so, Mary the wife of Clopas is also the mother of James and Joseph. I like to believe that they are two different persons.

What is very clear is that Mary, the Mother of James and Joseph not only served Jesus but she also gave her son, James to the service of Jesus as an apostle. (contact the author: यह ईमेल पता spambots से संरक्षित किया जा रहा है. आप जावास्क्रिप्ट यह देखने के सक्षम होना चाहिए. )

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ફાધર વર્ગીસ પોલ, એસ.જે.
(ડિરેક્ટર, સી.આઈ.એસ.એસ.)


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