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Reflections on Our Saviour’s Seven Words from the Cross – Word Three: Family

April 12, 2017

“… here is your son. … Here is your mother.”
(John 19:26-27)

How truly Simon’s words to Mary in Luke 2:35 are fulfilled: “A sword will pierce your own soul, too.” Surely there is no greater pain than to see those we love suffer. Surely there is no greater heartbreak than to yearn to shield your loved one from agony, but being unable to do so. Mary would have done anything to spare Jesus, but can only watch in horror as his life ebbs away. But note that Jesus shares this suffering with Mary. Jesus is seeing the heart of his mother breaking for love of him. How agonizing it must have been for Our Lord to watch Mary suffer! We should thus not be surprised that the next words of Jesus from the Cross are expressions of love for her. Jesus, knowing that he is dying, makes sure that his mother will be cared for, giving this holy responsibility to John, the disciple he loves. Jesus tells Mary now she will have John for her son; and tells John that will have Mary for his mother. Indeed, Jesus is showing his love for John, too. What could be a greater support to John in his discipleship than sharing the journey with such a companion? And so, Mary and John are invited deeper into the mystery of loving Jesus by living out his New Commandment to love one another as he has loved us.  

Reflection: Our Lord wants us to go through this journey together as family – brothers and sisters, children and parents, who care for one another.

God forbid that I should treat Holy Week as the backdrop for private musings about my life in Christ. Millions whose faith has been tested through suffering are taking their anonymous places in churches, carrying silently in their hearts their knowledge that the Risen one with the pierced hands has kept them company in the worst that can befall humankind. Of all the times this is when I should know myself a pilgrim amongst pilgrims, a limb of the Body, and open my heart to those countless believers to whom the Spirit has been and is revealing through pain and prayer, what “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

(Martin L. Smith, A Season for the Spirit, pages 140-141, alt.)

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