The Gospel reading for today is from John, Chapter 19, verses 25-27. It is short, but powerful.
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
There was a practical reason for Jesus to give His mother to the Apostle John. In the culture at that time, a widowed woman with no adult male family member to take care of her would be left unprotected and unsupported in the world. Amazing and humbling, though not surprising that, as He is expiring, our Lord has the presence of mind to think of His mother and her state in life once He is gone. Even if there were male relatives to assist her, it is obvious that none of these have stayed through Jesus’ passion and crucifixion but the beloved apostle. I can understand why John is the one to whom her Son would want to entrust His mother.
When the Body of Christ is taken from the cross after He expires, lifeless, bruised, scarred, Mary is there to lament and to hold her Son’s body.
A short time later St. Paul will tell us that we are the Body of Christ, battered and abused, by all sorts of enemies, even enemies that are within as a sort of cancer. And Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, mourns all this, as well.
In the Gospel selection today, we must remember there is a deeper, spiritual meaning behind Jesus’ gesture. Jesus, the Son of God, gives us His Mother as our mother, too. We will be loved by Mary as her very own children. Down through the ages, from John till today we are loved, interceded for by her prayers, and always she is busy leading all of us to her Son Jesus. When we join her now, not at the foot of the cross, but in His glorious resurrection, she often rejoices with us, too.
But we must never forget the grieving mother who knows our pain and who loves her Son and wants us ultimately to find peace and rest with Him, as she has.