Did you know that Mary’s Baby Boy is the great “I AM”?

finding christ in the temple bloch

Firstly, the painting: This is the Finding of Christ in the Temple by Carl Heinrich Bloch (†1890) of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. “Read,” if you will, about the moment Mary sees Jesus by reading the expression of the already bar-mitzvahed boy sitting on the steps of the temple. That boy sees her anguish, and that she’s the mother of Jesus who’s busy with his own bar-mitzvah. The boy on the steps is already running his own business of selling “a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons” (Luke 2:24). He has rope in hand, ready to tie up the feet of his captives to hand over in a bundle to anyone buying them for the sacrifice. Mary did make such a purchase twelve years earlier when Jesus had been presented in the Temple. Luke recounts Simeon’s words to Mary at that time, words that we are supposed to remember now:

“Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and a sword will pierce through your very life so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (2:34-35).

After the High Holy days in Jerusalem, Joseph and Mary had gone a day’s journey from Jerusalem on their return to Galilee. They route taken would surely have taken them to Jericho for the night. Not finding Jesus in the caravan, they immediately returned that very night on the most dangerous road in Israel cited later by Jesus Himself, the road where the Jewish fellow was left half dead by robbers and saved by the Good Samaritan. Joseph and Mary would have started back that very night, the most dangerous time of all, especially alone. They were in mortal danger. Add to this their search in deep anguish through the incredibly dangerous city of Jerusalem, jammed as it was with people in the wake of the High Holy days, including robbers.

IF Jesus were not, as God, able to supply twelve legions of angels for their protection, and IF He had no good reason for doing this, his ditching of Joseph and Mary like this, bar-mitzvah or not, would be objectively counted as a most grievous sin of dishonoring His mother and foster father. In fact, Mary expresses just how profound was their anguish in their three days of searching for Him. Jesus’ instruction to them about the Father was offered in the midst of the pain He purposely occasioned with the most tender solicitation for Mary’s welfare. His words which she kept in her heart would do her well when another three days of Jesus having gone missing would occur, after His tortured death on the Cross, when His soul left His body so as to do the will of His heavenly Father. If she had not received this instruction now, how could she have had the strength to live after His death?

For all those biblical scholars who impose their own doubt on the text and insist that Jesus didn’t know who He was as the Son of God until perhaps only after He went to heaven, it is here that we know that Jesus did know He was the Son of God. Look, as I say, what he did would be a mortal sin by any accounting, unless He knew He could supply for their protection and had a good reason for doing what He did. As God, He cannot sin. Therefore, He did supply the protection and did have a good reason for doing what He did.

Anyway, Mary is in great anguish. Perhaps if the boy selling the pigeons or turtle doves could speak, or sing to us of Mary’s anguish, perhaps he would encourage her about who her Son is, namely, God Himself.

Secondly, singing to Mary, encouraging her about her divine Son:

It’s important that you watch that video. Listen closely to the well enunciated words. Here are the lyrics:

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
would one day walk on water?

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
would save our sons and daughters?

Did you know that your Baby Boy
has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
will give sight to a blind man?

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
will calm the storm with His hand?

Did you know that your Baby Boy
has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby
you kissed the face of God?

Mary did you know, Mary did you know:

The blind will see?
The deaf will hear?
The dead will live again?
The lame will leap?
The dumb will speak the praises of The Lamb?

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
is Lord of all creation?

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
would one day rule the nations?

Did you know that your Baby Boy
is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you’re holding is The Great I AM.

At this point, I will take on Pope Francis’ voice in reprimanding some among the traditionalist crowd who specifically condemn this song as being an insult to Mary, who, of course knew the divine identity of her Son. That Mary knew the identity of her Son is correct, but that instruction is not the intent of the words of the song! Where is the solidarity with those who suffer! Look, the intent of the question “Mary, did you know?” is not to say that she didn’t know, but to encourage her in what she does know while she is suffering terrible, unspeakable anguish.

If you don’t get that at all, I’m going to jack up the stakes for you. Instead of having that song sung by some professional sounding guy, how about hearing it with just the audio, with a voice of suffering, from someone who has suffered unspeakable pain and humiliation, sexual assault and battery too many times to count, abandonment, starvation, being thrown from one drug house to the next house of abuse, a “bouncy ball” as this voice calls it. She’s just seven years old. When she sings this song to Mary about Jesus, she is not questioning whether Mary doubts Jesus. Suffering knows suffering. She’s offering words of encouragement. Listen to these words sung by this littlest of girls, listen until you get it. This is redemptive suffering, this is solidarity with the very Mother of God.

The Congregation for the New Evangelization send out another note to us who are Missionaries of Mercy, saying that they are just about to send out our contact info to all the bishops. Time is short. The urgency increases. I have permission from the little girl and her “forever mom” to bring this audio, and hopefully soon a video, with me on my Missionary of Mercy escapades away from the parish doing the Father’s will in this or that Temple around about. It is a lesson of forgiveness coming from the mouth of a mere babe. This will help to bring about the healing of many souls and help bring the abuse crisis full circle.

Jesus is The Great I AM. 

5 Comments

Filed under Mercy, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Synod on the Family, Year of Mercy

5 responses to “Did you know that Mary’s Baby Boy is the great “I AM”?

  1. Carmel

    Wow! Thank you Fr George for this beautiful piece, both the insight into this event (which I have always wondered about) and the awesome song (with your accompanying comments) plus the little child’s wonderful rendition of it.

  2. Cathe D.

    Yes! You are right Father George! Jesus is The Great I AM! Mary is the Mother of God! Mary is OUR Mother because Jesus told us so! So Mary is OUR Mother of God. What don’t we understand when She tells us: “I am your mother, I love all of you.” We are so blessed.
    May God bless you abundantly in this coming New Year Father George. Cathy

  3. meshugunah

    This incident, to my mind (as a mother) ALSO demonstrates that Our Lord was/is an entirely normal 12-year-old kid! It takes a kid to make that kind of provision for His parents and carry through with His own agenda without clearing it with the parents first. The other lesson I get from pondering this mystery is, Jesus doesn’t wander away/get lost – WE wander away/get lost from HIM. He is always right where He is supposed to be.

    When you are able, let us know (if only in general terms) about jury duty?
    Prayers, as always…

  4. Father George David Byers

    Probably by noon Monday.

  5. Nita Anderson

    Thank you Father for touching my life through your perspective of redemptive suffering and that of “the little girl”!

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