Friday, December 02, 2016

the other mary

After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.  Matthew 28:1 

Some years ago, there was a television comedy whose cast of characters included three guys who would come into a scene.  The fellow in the middle always introduced themselves this way, "Hi, I'm Larry; this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl." Of course, we never heard from either Darryl, and we certainly were never given a clue as to what the other Darryl did, or who he was as a person.

This is similar to the woman in the New Testament known as the "other" Mary.  We really don't know who she is, but obviously not in the same 'star' quality as Mary Mags.  Some say she is given this title because Mary was such a common name back then.  Some believe she was the sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  Some posit she was married to Alphaeus, and that their son was James, one of those called as a disciple (who, was also known by a similar 'title' - James the Little/Less - as if he too was of little consequence in the grand scheme of things).

We don't know what she did, either.  Maybe she simply made sure the folks following Jesus were fed and looked after, coming around after them and picking up their dirty clothes.  Maybe she was the one who always made creative excuses for Jesus, when he had disappeared and everyone was looking for him, never revealing the fact that he had gone off to recharge his spiritual batteries.  May she kept refilling Andrew's cup, and listening to his plaintive, "Peter!  All everyone ever talks about is Peter.  He wouldn't even know Jesus if I hadn't introduced them . . ."

We don't know why she is even mentioned.  But perhaps it is simply a recognition by the gospels of a woman was always there when someone needed her, and always overlooked when they didn't.

Just like some folks we know.  Just like some folks like ourselves.

Prayer:  Open our eyes to those who look after us, especially when we don't notice them; those who listen to us, though we can't remember what their voice sounds like, those others who simple go about their ministry of caring, giving, loving, even when they are not.  Amen.

(c) 2016 Thom M. Shuman

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