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.
As we’ve seen the past two weeks, Jesus is extremely forgiving and merciful….and this week is no exception. So far we’ve heard, Father forgive them… and Today you will be with me in Paradise. Now, we hear His words to His mother, Mary and His beloved disciple, John. “Woman, behold, your son” and “Behold, your mother.”
What are we to learn from this passage? They are, after all, the words of Sacred Scripture. They were written for a reason. Why put this in his gospel narrative? It’s the same John the Evangelist, that writes, There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written(Jn. 21: 25). What made this important enough to include and dismiss the others?
Of course, it starts with honoring your [father and] mother, one of the ten commandments. We also see the great mercy and compassion He has for others – as He’s suffering, again in extreme pain, He sees His mother, weeping her own tears of great pain (Lk. 2: 34-35) He did not want her to be alone and uncared for. So He gives her to the care of His disciple, John. Why would Jesus give His mother to one of His disciples? It was Jewish custom for family to care for family. Jesus surely brought about change as to religious customs, but didn’t try to implement change so much on the social or cultural ones.
I’ve heard said the reason was that His “brothers” (not holding to the teachings of the early Church Fathers of Mary’s perpetual virginity…even Luther, Calvin and Zwingli taught this) were not believers [in Christ] yet; but wouldn’t that change after His ressurection, wouldn’t He then return her to His family? No, Mary moved to Ephesus with John. I’m sorry…I’ve digressed. This is a Lenten Reflection. If you would like to know more about this teaching check out this and this.
Let’s make this practical. We see Jesus’ concern for His mother and her well being in a physical sense and we see Jesus even place His “faith” in John to be able to accomplish this. Not unlike God the Father, putting His “faith” in Mary at the Annuciation.
Since God is relational ,we being made in His image and likeness, are relational as well. We are also called to, “… love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:37-39). These aren’t just mere verses to memorize, or to glance over. It’s our responsibility to live them out! Jesus tells us in John 13:35, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” He’s not talking about lip service and no action here, He’s not talking about meeting two or three times a week telling each other, “I luv you“. The world can’t see that! They see us in their world – loving and caring for one another the way Christ loved and cared for others while He was here on this earth, and as He cares for us now; healing and restoring our soul.
So in this third week of Lent, let us put our love in action, as Paul reminds us in Titus 3:8 & 14, “This saying is trustworthy. I want you to insist on these points, that those who have believed in God be careful to devote themselves to good works; these are excellent and beneficial to others. But let our people, too, learn to devote themselves to good works to supply urgent needs, so that they may not be unproductive.
Openly loving and doing good for others in all the ways we can, is an opportunity for us to let ” [y]our light shine before others that they may see [y]our good deeds and glorify [y]our heavenly Father. “
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