FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
MOTHER AND SON
September 15, 2011
Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
Today’s reading: John 19:25-27
What a poignant scene it was as Mary stood by the cross where Jesus hung crucified and dying. But there, racked by extreme pain, Jesus uttered those two sweet sentences that give us cause for great joy. To his mother he said, “Woman, behold, your son.” To his disciple John he said, “Behold, your mother.”
These are very powerful words with very profound implications. Let us look more closely at them.
Entrusted by Jesus at the Cross
“Woman, behold, your son.”
Toward the end of his earthly life, uttering his most important last words while on the cross, Jesus entrusted us to his mother, and likewise entrusted his mother to us all. “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.’” (Jn 19:26-27a).
What Jesus did was a fruit of love. He loved his mother, and he loved John his disciple. Now that he was leaving the earth, his act of entrusting one to the other was designed to keep them in his love, as they manifested his love to each other, the love that he commanded his disciples to have for one another.
And what was the response of John? “And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” (Jn 19:27b).
This is the same response we are to have towards Mary. We are to love and honor her, and we are to take her into our homes.
Consider our family and life in Christ. We are all members of families.
Now the Triune God is a family. There is the Father, there is the Son, and there is the Spirit which is the love that binds Father and Son together. But for our human needs, there is another person that is crucial. That is the mother. And she is Mary.
In fact, in the revelation of God’s plan to Mary, the angel spoke of the involvement of the Trinity. “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” (Lk 1:35). The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit—all three persons in the Godhead are part of the revelation of the divine plan to Mary. In the mysterious ways of God, the Trinity, which is a divine family, enables the integration of the human race into God’s family through the instrumentality of a human mother.
Mary completes the divine family. And Mary completes our family as God’s family, and our home as the dwelling place of the Spirit.
A fundamental command of God is to honor our father and our mother (Ex 20:12a). As the divine family, God is our Father, Jesus our brother, and Mary our mother. We certainly honor and worship God, and we also need to honor our mother Mary.
Thus we take her into our homes and more importantly into our hearts.
Now Jesus did not entrust Mary to us only to complete the divine family of which we are a part, but for Mary to care for us, to guide us with her wisdom, to encourage us through our trials. This is especially important as we go through the tribulations and crosses of life. Jesus entrusted Mary to us while he was nailed to the cross. Mary endured his passion, crucifixion and death, and is honed by such suffering and pain. In our own suffering and pain, she can truly empathize.
We are Jesus’ disciples, having a personal relationship with him. But Mary has a role as mediatrix, a role she is uniquely suited for. This is why Jesus entrusted us to her, so that she will help bring him to us, and bring us to him.
And when Jesus gave John to his mother as her son, Jesus in effect was saying that Mary should treat John in the same way that she treated him. John is her son. He is to be looked on as Jesus and treated as Jesus. Now since John represents all of us, then Mary is also to treat us all as her children, just as she treated her Son Jesus, and just as she treated the beloved disciple John.
But there is more. Jesus gave Mary to John as his mother. Now what was the relationship of Jesus the Son to Mary his mother?
Being God, the whole created universe cannot contain Jesus. As Solomon said, “the heavens and even the highest heavens cannot contain him” (2 Chr 2:5b). But Jesus allowed himself to be contained in Mary’s womb!
Jesus was obedient to God (Phil 2:8), and as God, Jesus the Son would only need to be obedient to God the Father. But Jesus became obedient to Mary his mother (Lk 2:51)!
What an awesome mother she is! Such is the mystery of Mary’s place in the divine scheme of things. And now she is our mother too.
This truly is an astounding reality, that Mary is our mother and we are her children. To what do we owe such a great blessing and privilege?! Elizabeth herself could only wonder in awe and ask, “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:43).
Well, Mary is not only visiting us for three months, but for the rest of our lives, and even beyond, through eternity in heaven.
And in all these ought to lie our great joy. Just like John in the womb of Elizabeth, we, the children of Mary, ought to leap for joy (Lk 1:44)!
(from Forty More Days with Mary)
Taking Mary into our Home
“the disciple took her into his home”
On the cross, Jesus gave Mary his mother to John. “And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” (Jn 19:27b).
We too must take Mary into our homes. She will sanctify our homes. She will enliven and brighten our lives. She will be there in times of trouble to console us and assure us. She will celebrate with us our joys. She will guide us with her wisdom. She will intercede for us.
With Mary present, our homes will be places of sanctuary. Our homes will be extensions of heaven, where she dwells. Our homes will always have peace and joy.
The family is the design of God. The family is the key to God’s plan for the life of the world. John Paul II said that the future of humanity passes by way of the family. The condition of families determines the condition of societies.
The Trinity itself is a family. There is the Father, there is the Son, and there is the Spirit, representing the love that binds and permeates the relationship of parent and child. But what completes the family is a mother. That is Mary.
Further, Mary has a very unique relationship with the Trinity. She is the daughter of the Father, the mother of the Son, and the spouse of the Spirit.
When we take Mary into our home, we bring in her whole family! We all become family together. We would have a Father, a mother, a brother, and we would all be bound up in love, which is the essence of family.
When Joseph learned about Mary’s pregnancy, he intended to divorce her quietly so as not to expose her to shame. The angel appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.” (Mt 1:20).
With Mary in our home, there too will be Jesus and the Holy Spirit. With God and Mary, our homes will truly be pieces of Kingdom ground. With Mary our mother watching over us, we need never be afraid.
Mary is our mother. She belongs in our home.
(taken from Forty Days with Mary)
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