One of the chief arguments Catholics submit in defense of their veneration and praise for Mary is the following one - Jesus honored Mary. Here are the actual words in an email, as we received them, from a Catholic trying to defend his actions and beliefs:
One of the 10 commandments is to honor our mother and father. Do you think that Jesus would not want us to honor his mother, the ultimate example of Christian discipleship?
Certainly, Jesus obeyed the command to honor his mother, but what does that mean and how did he honor Mary? Also, should we too honor Mary the same way Jesus did? The only way we can know the answers to the above questions is to go to the Scriptures and note how the Lord himself reacted to various events in his life (which included Mary) and observe his reactions towards her. For sure we can't trust pictures of Jesus and Mary, since they are often incorrect. We must go to the bible. If we do that, such will answer this question about honoring Mary, as Jesus did, once and for all.
If anyone knew how important Mary was and how she should be treated, he certainly did. The surprise comes as Jesus demonstrates this for us. Are you ready for the truth? Here are the facts:
When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them. (Luke 2:48-50)
NOTE: Jesus gave many rebukes in his lifetime. The Pharisees, Peter, the disciples in general, etc., were frequently rebuked, but it was Mary who heard his first recorded rebuke. Again, Jesus said to Mary to correct her of her error, “Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?”
Catholic friend, do you see any favored treatment in that response to Mary? Does that justify veneration or praise to her for being Jesus' mother, as is the typical practice of the Catholic Church? While Jesus still honored his mother, according to Exodus 20:12, he always exalted God, His truth and His will first at all times, especially when Mary would stand in the way of God's will.
Jesus sometimes did not grant Mary's request or even acknowledge her presence. This is a blow to many who imagine Jesus as a type of momma's boy who obeyed whatever Mary requested. Folks, here is the truth:
Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother.” Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water's edge. (Mark 3:31-4:1)
Jesus did not grant Mary's request, especially at this time when she thought the Lord had gone crazy. (Please see our other article on When Mary Sinned.)
Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother' and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.' But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,' he is not to ‘honor his father' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'” (Mat 15:3-9)
In other words, instead of helping one's needy parents financially, the Pharisees were teaching the same money could be given as a gift to God (which they could personally benefit by). Therefore, the word of God was nullified because the parents, who needed financial help, wouldn't get aid and therefore wouldn't be honored in this way.
Paul also referred to the same Exodus 20 command about honoring one's mother and father:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (Eph 6:1-3)
Here honoring one's parents can refer to obeying them, if it doesn't violate Scripture. But to honor the Mary of Catholicism, as Catholics do, is to violate Scripture. Jesus didn't treat his mother the way Catholics do today. This is important to remember.
You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Ex. 20:4-6)
Without question, bowing before graven images is a practice widely done in Catholic circles. Hence, this Catholic tradition has nullified the command of God (Ex. 20:4-6).
In conclusion: Catholicism is without Scriptural support for their exaltation of a fabricated Mary, who they think is the sinless, ever virgin, Queen of heaven, mediatrix of all graces and “our life, sweetness and hope” among other things. Do not be duped by their empty infallible claim or by anything coming from popular John Paul II! Furthermore, the Catholic St Alphonsus was wildly idolaterous. To venerate (a synonym for worship) or to praise Mary as done in Catholic circles, is clearly to contradict the word of God. Remember how Jesus honored Mary, based on Scripture!