Without Mary’s obedience, without Mary’s willingness to receive the Holy Spirit, our salvation would be in doubt. Raniero Cantalamessa, therefore, quite rightly entitles his 1992 book Mary: Mirror of the Church. With some justification Mary is often identified as the second Eve, but Mary is also our Abraham. Just as Abraham obeyed God’s call for him to leave his familiar land to journey to a foreign destination, so Mary through her willingness to become the very Mother of God is the beginning of the church. She is the firstborn of the new creation faithfully responding to the Son who calls into being a new people. Just as Abraham is the father of Israel, so Mary is the mother of the church.
All of this means that when Christians lose the significance of Mary in the economy of salvation we also risk losing our relation with the people of Israel. Jesus is born of a Jewish mother. His flesh is Jewish flesh. To be sure Jewish flesh is human, but Christians dare not forget that the flesh that is ‘very man’ is particularly the flesh of Mary. Matthew will not let us forget that the one born of Mary is he who has come to free Israel from its sins. Jesus is very God and very man, but that formula does not mean we can ever forget that the God he is, and the man he is, is the same God that has promised to always be faithful to the people of Israel.
Stanley Hauerwas, Matthew (London, SCM Press, 2006), p. 36.