From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Fri Apr 23 23:50:28 2021
The food that makes us live forever
When we receive from the Lord's table we unite ourselves to Jesus
Christ, who makes us sharers in his body and blood and partakers of
his divine life. Ignatius of Antioch (35-107 A.D.), an early church
father and martyr, calls it the "one bread that provides the medicine
of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us
live for ever in Jesus Christ" (Ad Eph. 20,2). This supernatural food
is healing for both body and soul and strength for our journey
24 April - St. Mary "of Cleophas"
Also known as Mary of Clopas
9 April (Armenian calendar; Catholic prior to 2001)
23 May (Orthodox calendar)
3 August (Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod calendar)
"And there were standing by the cross of Jesus His mother and His
mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen." How should we
understand "His mother's sister," literally, as in having the same
parents, or in the same sense that Jesus' "brothers" are to be
understood as close relatives?
The short answer is that Mary of Cleophas is probably the Blessed
Virgin's sister-in-law. Mary of Cleophas may have had a previous
husband named Alpheus, or this Alpheus may have been Cleophas. The
Blessed Virgin Mary, of course, only had one husband (Joseph) and
remained a virgin. The long answer follows.
Reading the Bible, we find that Jesus had brethren named James,
Joseph, Simon (Simeon) and Jude (Mt 13:55). We also know that His
mother Mary had a "sister" called Mary. This other Mary in turn had a
husband named Cleophas (Jn 19:25). I hope here to summarize and
untangle this maze of relatives.
First, let us see what the Gospels tell us. At the death of Jesus, we
are told that Mary, wife of Cleophas/Clopas (Jn 19:25) was present. She
was described as the mother of James and Joseph (Mt 27:56) in one
account, and mother of James the Less and Joses in another (Mk 15:40).
On the other hand, James is described as the son of Alphaeus in the
synoptic Gospels' listing of the Apostles (Mt 10:3, Mk 3:18, Lk 6:15).
We can infer that Mary wife of Cleophas is unlikely to be a true
sister of the Virgin Mary, since they bear the same name. However,
they are related in some way. This parallels the semitic use of
"brother" in relating James to Jesus.
An ancient historian named Hegesippus can shed further light. A native
of Palestine, Hegesippus finished his Memoirs in the reign of Pope
Eleutherius (AD 175-189) when he was an old man. He draws his
information from personal sources, as he was able to question some
surviving members of Jesus' family. Hegesippus can tell us that:
"After the martyrdom of James, it was unanimously decided that Simeon,
son of Clopas, was worthy to occupy the see of Jerusalem. He was, it
is said, a cousin of the Saviour;" Hegesippus recounts in fact that
Clopas was a brother of Joseph (Eusebius, Hist. eccl., III, 11).
St. Epiphanius (Haer., LXXVII, 7) says the same and adds (ibid., 14)
"that this Simeon, the son of Clopas, was a cousin of James the Just,"
as Hegesippus says in another passage. (Prat, Jesus Christ, p. 505).
Cleophas is the brother of Joseph (Jesus' adopted father). It follows
that Cleophas' wife Mary is the Virgin Mary's sister in law, which
explains why they can have the same name and are called sisters. It
also follows that James is Jesus' cousin. Ferdinand Prat reasons:
"We know, then that the mother of two of the brothers of the Lord was
Mary of Cleophas, the sister of the Blessed Virgin. We also know that
Cleophas, St Joseph's brother, was the father of a third, called Simon
or Simeon. Since the remaining one, Jude, is always connected with
Simon and is, like him, part of the family of David, it is natural to
suppose that he was also a son of Cleophas.
All the points that remain obscure would be cleared up, in our
opinion, if two hypotheses are risked. Mary, the sister of the Blessed
Virgin, having two sons, James and Joseph, by a first marriage, was
married a second time to Cleophas, brother of St. Joseph, who also had
two sons, Simon and Jude, by a former marriage. In light of the
customs of the country and the age, there was nothing extraordinary in
the marriage of a widow and a widower, each with children. The second hypothesis is that the sister of the Blessed Virgin had as her first
husband a man of the tribe of Levi, called Alpheus.
In this fashion nine or ten problems would be solved. Thus one could
explain why James, Joseph, Simon and Jude are always named in that
order, as brethren of the Lord; why James and Joseph are a pair
distinct from Simon and Jude; why Mary, sister of the Blessed Virgin,
is called the mother of James and Joseph and not the mother of Simon
and Jude; why, according to Hegesippus, Simon and not James is the son
of Cleophas; why, again according to Hegesippus, Simon and Jude are of
the family of David; why, according to tradition, James was of
sacerdotal ancestry; why the common opinion of Catholics identifies
James, son of Mary, sister of the Blessed Virgin, with James the
Apostle, the son of Alpheus; why Mary of Cleophas is called in the
Gospel sister of the Blessed Virgin, when she was really her
sister-in-law, being the wife of St. Joseph's brother; finally, why,
after the deaths of Joseph and Cleophas, the two sisters brought their
families together, so that thereafter the two families seemed to be
but one." (Prat, Jesus Christ, p. 136-137).
We do not hear of Cleophas or Joseph (Jesus' adopted father) in the
Gospels during Jesus' adult life. We can imagine that after their
deaths, the two families--deprived of their protectors and heads--came
together under one roof. This would further strengthen their ties: the
two Marys as "sisters" and Jesus and His cousins as "brothers". Gospel
and tradition kept these names without denying Mary's perpetual
One must pass through the desert and spend some time there in order to
receive the grace of God; it is there that one empties oneself, that
one drives away from oneself everything which is not God and that one
empties completely the house of one's soul in order to leave all of it
to God alone.
--Blessed Charles de Foucald
And he said to his disciples: It is impossible that scandals should
not come. But woe to him through whom they come! It were better for
him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he cast into the
sea, than that he should scandalize one of these little ones. [Luk
Mary at the foot of the Cross
"She is at the foot of the Cross on Calvary, though all the Apostles,
St John only excepted, have fled; she stands erect there, firm in her
faith that her Son is the Son of God, that He is the Lamb of God Who
is even then taking away the sins of the world, that though apparently defeated, He is Victor over Satan and sin, and that in three days He
will conquer death by His resurrection. Mary's act of faith on Calvary
was the greatest ever elicited on earth, for the hour was unspeakably
dark and its object was the most difficult of all - that Jesus had won
the greatest of victories by making the most complete of immolations.
Her faith was aided then by the gifts of the Holy Ghost. By the gift
of Understanding she read far into the revealed mysteries, far into
their inner meaning, their harmony, their appropriateness, their
consequences. She was particularly favoured in her understanding of
the mysteries in which she herself had a part to play, such as the
virginal conception of Christ, His Incarnation, and the whole economy
of the Redemption. ... It was increased also by the fact that Mary was confirmed in grace and preserved free from every shortcoming - lack of confidence as well as presumption."
--Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange: