Mar. 30, 2012
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
No mother should have to watch their son die the agonizing death of crucifixion. But Mary did. Fortunately, she was not alone. Three other women and the disciple Jesus loved, John, were with her.
Mary never had a normal life. She gave up her dreams when she agreed to carry, deliver and raise the Messiah. Like all mothers, Mary raised her son with a preconceived notion of what his life would look like. But Jesus broke these notions. Her expectations had to change. She had to set aside being his mother and become one of his followers. She was an ordinary woman with an extraordinary vocation and faith.
As Jesus began his ministry, the disciples and Mary were with him at a wedding in Cana. The wine was running out. Mary asked Jesus to make more wine. He says, “Woman, what concern of this is yours? My hour has not come.” Jesus now took direction only from his Father. Mary must take a back seat. This had to be hard.
Jesus had brothers and sisters. It wasn’t until after his resurrection they began to understand who he was. We assume Mary’s family was torn in two because of this. Mary had to choose whether to follow Jesus or not. We see her choice at the foot of the cross.
As Mary watched her son die, imagine her recalling the words the old man Simeon told her at the Temple. With Jesus just eight days old, Simeon told Mary a sword would pierce her heart. At the cross, Jesus sees and feels Mary’s pain. As the soldiers roll dice and gamble for his cloths, he knows she is thinking of the child she bathed and dried. She’s thinking of the little boy she showered with kisses. She’s thinking of the man he’d become.
As her oldest son, it is Jesus’ obligation to care for her mother. Before he dies, Jesus ensures Mary’s care. He upholds the fifth commandment and honors his mother. He sees John nearby. He lovingly says: “Woman, here is your son.” To John, “Here is your mother.”
Mary will not have to worry about food, shelter or needs as John accepts responsibility. Mary, her friends and John stand beneath the cross for you and me; for all who believe. Here are your mother, brothers and sisters of God. Family is not based on blood but on faith and belief. Jesus broadens God’s family and elevates our understanding of community. Your “family” just got bigger! We can’t claim disinterest for each other when we share life through Jesus. We’re in this together, even when we don’t agree, like each other or appreciate each other. In God’s family, we are all equal.
As a Christian, I pray you will discover that no matter where you are, you are with family. Your relationship with God allows you to connect with others normally you would not be able to. Our lives might be different but we are family. God needs people who will say, “I will” help someone else. I will sacrifice time and resources to support the ministry of God’s church. I will tutor a child; I will visit the feeble and frail. I will make a phone call. I will give more than receive.
Jesus knew how difficult it would be for us to live into this new way. Let us learn courageous faith and hope that it is enough to trust. Let us work together as God’s family and become what God has called us to be.
Let us pray: I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God. I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood! Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod; for I’m part of the family, the family of God. Amen.