I wonder when Mary realized what she had gotten into by saying yes. I imagine at some point she realized all the implications of her willingness to serve God by being the mother of Jesus. I wonder, though, if all that dawned on her while Gabriel was talking to her. Not much is said about Mary in the Gospels in terms of age, upbringing, and so on. Most of what we believe we infer by context. We believe Mary to have been relatively young for marriage by our standards, perhaps as young as twelve or thirteen.1 That would have been the normal age for a young peasant woman to be married.
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Oscar Wilde penned a powerful story about behaviors and definitions and justice called The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dorian was a handsome young man, a model of physical beauty and moral virtue. People complimented him on his good graces. Parents pointed to him as an example to their youth. One artist even painted an exquisite portrait of him.
"Have you seen it?" whispered the Barbie doll to her next door neighbour.
The next Barbie doll in line was instantly alert. There were five different Barbie dolls, who lived jumbled together in the toy cupboard but who were so jealous of each other that they rarely spoke. "Seen what?" asked the second Barbie doll, blue eyes darting all round the room.
"The Princess," replied the first Barbie with glee. "Caitlin's done her hair and it looks terrible!"
These verses from Mark's gospel are a call to commitment, a call to sacrifice, and a call to give up everything of earthly value in life. To say these are difficult verses is truly an understatement. It is pretty clear that the disciples are not at all ready for what Jesus is saying. They are not ready for Jesus to die and they certainly are not ready to die themselves.