“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son’. Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother’. And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home” (John 19, 26-27).
May the meaning of this word of Jesus dwell deep in us as we contemplate the gift given to John and extended to every disciple. Yes, in God’s plan, it’s not enough for Mary to be the Mother of Jesus; she is also the mother of John and of each one of us. And if we want to live imitating Christ Jesus according to our call from God (see Romans 8, 28), we must welcome Mary as our Mother.
With a beautiful expression, it has been said that, “Holy Mary is the most significant living monstrance of Jesus.” In fact, when we look at Mary, we see her Son Jesus in her. And when we open ourselves to her with filial affection, Mary makes us feel her intercession for us. Moreover we see her as a light that illuminates our way and as a magnet that attracts us with this message: “Where I am, there you are called to be, in the eternal Kingdom of God.”
Because of this, every time I pray the invocation of the Hail Mary, “Pray for us now and at the hour of our death”, I feel her tenderness and I look at her as the Queen of Heaven, the Mother of God, my Mother, whose prayer of intercession in heaven is so powerful.
Let us analyze these third words of Jesus on the cross with more depth, to see the quality of the mutual relationship of the persons involved in it and its beautiful consequences for us.
LOVING CARE OF THE MOTHER
I see Jesus with His tender loving care for His mother Mary, who had accompanied Him during the whole of His life, in the days of deep joy and of heavy suffering. Surely, from the time of the Annunciation to the time of the Crucifixion of Jesus, Mary had a grace-filled life full of gratitude and hope for the best. Nevertheless, she had also moments of confusion and disturbance caused by her son’s actions, which were beyond any human evaluation and expectation, and the people’s negative reactions to them.
She experienced many heartaches. Now Jesus, well aware that Mary had cared for Him all His life, in turn, shows that He cares for His Mother by giving her John as her son. In this way, Jesus shows the same care also for John and the community of His followers, giving them Mary as their Mother.
Here we see so much care received and given in situations of human helplessness! From this, we learn that care, within the context of the giving of self, goes far beyond professional training and the giving of money and wealth. What is needed is love and the desire to help.
As we can see, these words of Jesus on the cross is a beautiful proclamation and actualization of the reality of relationships with wide horizons, in a world where so many people are victims of selfishness and isolation, and where the principle of, “In isolation we die, it is only in communion that we celebrate life together,” is ignored.
To illustrate this, let us see the situations of the persons who are in mutual relationships here: Jesus, Mary, John, and the Church born at the foot of the cross. Jesus nailed to the cross, suffering in a kind of excruciating agony. Mary present at the foot of the cross without speaking, but expressing her love through her felt presence of fidelity, companionship, and sharing. John, the dearest friend of Jesus, present here and faithful as always in difficult situations, and then the Church born at the foot of the cross as a great sign of every community.
ALL ARE CHILDREN OF THE MOTHER
Jesus gives His Mother to John who takes care of her as his own Mother. As John represents the whole of humanity, all human beings become the children of a most dear Mother who stands to protect and embrace all in her arms and heart. The Latin word Stabat, used in the Gospel to affirm and describe Mary’s dynamic presence at the foot of the cross, has a great meaning for us as we understand that Mary is present in the life of the Church and of each one of us, in the same way.
From the cross, Jesus embraces the whole of humankind in line with what He said: “And when I am lifted up from the earth I shall draw all people to myself”. May we let Jesus embrace us so that we may be a great family with Mary as our Mother. Amen!