“When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’. Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’” (Jn19:26-27)
All of Jesus’ words have a depth of meaning far beyond the simple context, but only considering the effort it must have taken him to speak, amidst so much suffering, his last words must have had profound meaning.
When I think of Mary, I can imagine how gracious she must have been. There must have been so many who sought her out, for advice, for comfort, for counsel, for wisdom, and guidance, or just to be near this beautiful woman who radiated love. I mean who else besides Joseph spent as much time with Jesus, learning the secrets of Love from the source Himself? She must have been that relative, friend and confidante that everyone wanted to be close to. She was always thinking of others. (Remember the wedding at Cana, and her visit to Elizabeth?) I can imagine how she would greet visitors with a smile, kind words, something to eat or drink, and of course patience, even if she was interrupted from her daily tasks. In short, I imagine she treated everyone like family, ready to serve or help. She was simply present for them with love.
“…Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!”
Was Jesus simply handing his mother over to John, or was there something deeper, and even more meaningful that he was saying? Catholic Tradition tells us there is, but many other faiths do not think so. Looking at just the Scripture, it reads as if He said it emphatically. What effort it must have taken him to exclaim these words. How important they must be! This is not something Jesus would have had to tell John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. Of course John would have taken care of Mary as he would his own mother!
Because of our human nature, we tend to think of things in our own very limited way. God can help us see in His way which is always unlimited. This God who can do all things, and has given us everything he had to give, even to give up His life, for our salvation, has also given us his mother!
“Enraged at her escape, the dragon went off to make war on the rest of her offspring…” Rev 12:17
From the perspective of our limited human minds and hearts it may not seem that she could be our Mother, but if we try to understand from the mind and heart of God, His Sacred Loving Heart, then how can a God who has given us everything, hold anything back? It is impossible for the Love of God to do that. So, Jesus was emphatically telling us in His way…”You whom I love, I have given you my all! I have but one thing left to give. Here, here is your Mother!”
And such a mother He has given us! This woman of unequaled compassion, tenderness, and generosity who now loves each of us as her own child. We are her offspring. Who can fathom such a gift?
“Woman, behold your son!”
“ Mother, these little ones, my children, I give each of them to you.” Jesus is really saying to her.
This God, full of surprises, even to the very end of his life on earth, once again shattered the notions of mere men at what God can and will do for love of us.
Of course then, this God of wonder and surprises, allows us to speak to Our Mother in our prayers. From God’s perspective, why wouldn’t He? And she of course, prays for us, as He also allows her to speak to our hearts. Because our souls are encased in our physical bodies, we see the material world, and at times if God allows, glimpses of the spiritual world, but that doesn’t mean that in the spiritual world they can’t and don’t “see” us. Let’s not put our limits on God! So, she is as present to us as she was to those in Nazareth. She is as ready to help, console, and serve as she was then, and even more so that Jesus has given her a capacity to love each of us as her own child.
Mary is our Mother, given to us by Jesus himself. She is ready to take our hand, and always, always takes us back to Jesus. Besides himself, she is the greatest gift that He has given us!
Jesus, I thank you for the gift of your beautiful mother, let me not ever take her for granted or turn her away. Teach me to love and honor her the way you wish her to be, because doing so only increases love and honor to You. Amen