Friday, July 11, 2008

"Woman, behold, your son!"

Gazing down at her from the cross, gasping for air, Jesus spoke those words to His mother, shifting his gaze to the Apostle John. And to John, "Behold, your mother!" (John 19:26-27)

The most intense moments of Jesus' life, the culmination of His earthly life and mission, of our redemption - and He used a portion of those precious moments to establish a relationship between His mother and His disciples! It's true. As the Gospel goes on to tell us, "And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home" (John 19:27). That action is to be repeated by each of us. Why would I, why would the Catholic Church, make this claim, extending it from John to the entire Church? Well, because that's what John taught.

Both the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation, or Apocalypse, ultimately stem from that apostle; we can see this in the recurring themes: the Lamb of God, wedding feast, living water, the Woman (Jesus addressed Mary as "Woman" in John 2:4 as well as at the cross). Listen to the Book of Revelation: "And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars...she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne" (Revelation 12:1,5). A few verses later we are told of "the rest of her offspring, those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus" (Rev.12:17). That's us my friends -as soon as we were fused to Jesus in baptism, we became children of His mother Mary! She beholds each of us in her Son Jesus!

And she loves us with a mother's heart, a heart that feels each of our pains, just as it felt every thorn that pressed into Jesus' head - she had been warned, gently prepared for this reality, through prophecy when Jesus was only an infant (Luke 2:35). She is thinking of us right now. What prayer do you need her to join you in bringing before Jesus? That's what the saints in heaven do you know (see Revelation 5:8). Listen to Jesus, speaking to each of us from the cross, "Behold, your mother!"

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