Summary: The Good Friday story told from the perspective of Mary the mother of James the younger and Joses
I’ll be right there! Yes. Yes, I am one of the women who followed Jesus. We’re on our way to the tomb. I am his aunt Mary, sister-in-law to Mary the mother of Jesus. Jesus truly was a remarkable man, full of love and without a doubt, the son of God.
I first meet Mary when Jesus was a small child. I was betrothed to her brother Alphæus. I was instantly taken with her gentle presence and deep faith. She was much easier to be with than Sal-o-may or some of her other brothers and sisters. I guess part of the reason I was drawn to her was that she seemed to embody a spirit of love, just like her son.
My family was thrilled to have me marry Alphaeus, not because Alphaeus was a great man, but because that meant I was no longer their responsibility. My father was terribly disappointed when I was born. I was a girl and on top of that, I had a deformed foot which caused a limp. The chances of someone like me getting married was slim. In the eyes of my parents, I was merely a financial burden. As a child, the neighborhood children made fun of me and even my own brothers and sisters taunted me. When the opportunity came to marry Alphaeus, I jumped at it. Life with him could not be any worse than the loveless life I had at home.
I did not realize how desperate Alphaeus was to marry. It seems the scandal caused by the birth of Jesus made parents a little reluctant to have their daughters marry into the family. Alphaeus had hoped to marry his childhood sweetheart, but after Mary’s behavior, he wasn’t even allowed to speak to her. Marrying me was a last ditch effort to become a partially respected man in the community.
Most of Alphaeus’s family ignored me. I produced children which they “oohed” and “aahed” over and performed all the duties expected by a wife and daughter-in-law. It wasn’t that they were mean to me, it was just that they showed me no kindness, no love. Mary and Joseph were the only ones to show me any affection and even little Jesus cared for me.
I remember while expecting my eighth and last child, I had gone to the well to fetch some water. Between my limp and my large state, I could hardly get the water from the well and home. The children danced around me and taunted me. I was close to tears when Jesus, a young man by then, came through the crowd and said “Be still! All of you! Go home!”. Without a word, he then lifted my buckets and carried them home. As I sat on the bench outside my home to catch my breath, Jesus turned to me. He knelt down and washed my tired feet, feet that I could barely see, little lone clean them. “It’s all right, Aunt Mary,” he said softly. “God loves you very much and so do I”. I felt God’s love flow through me in a way I had never before experienced. All of a sudden, it didn’t matter what other people thought. I would limp through my life confident in all the blessings God had given me. I had a good home and healthy children. I had a sister-in-law and her family who cared about me and I had a god who had not abandoned me.
When Alphaeus came home, he noticed the change in me. I think it was because I was singing. He had never heard me sing. He thought that this last child must be sending me over the edge and ordered me to stay home until she was born. It was then he noticed that I was not limping.
“your eyes must be dimming in their old age” I teased.
“No,” He insisted. “You are not limping. What has happened to you?”
“I don’t know” I replied, but I knew. I knew that as Jesus washed my feet, somehow he had made me whole not only in spirit but in body as well.
After Judith was born, I was still caring this feeling of peace and love within me. I attended worship and prayed faithfully. Alphaeus no longer loathed me and in fact he was beginning to love me. Just when my life was looking better, a fever claimed the life of my husband. My husband’s family continued to care for my family and I. The family proceeded to tolerate us, but they were more respectful. Eventually, the family and the village began to forget that I had ever had a limp. I merely became the widow Mary.
As I watched Jesus grow up along side my children, I relized that he was destined to do great things. I began to believe that Mary was telling us the truth when she said that Jesus was the son of God. When Jesus started his ministry, James and John (the spoiled children of Sal-o-may), imediately followed him. It wasn’t long before my oldest son, James, also wanted to be part of the action. James was willing to leave his wife and family because he believed in what Jesus was teaching.