Tuesday, April 7
John 19: 26-27
“Woman, behold your son.”
“What would it be like if I told you I saw three of them?” Those are the words I remember the doctor speaking to us the day we found out we were having triplets. Everything changed in that moment. We committed to caring for our children, to teach them in the faith, to show them good and right, and to encourage them to be responsible, contributing members of society. Unknowingly, they received a commitment that day too, which was to care for us, especially when we grow older and we need them. That part is more real to me now, as my own parents face health challenges of their own.
There’s a moment when Jesus is hanging on the cross, close to death, when he turns to his mother Mary and to John, the beloved disciple, and gives them to each other. There’s more to it than this, but we can simply see in the story Jesus as a caring son, knowing an older woman will need someone to care for her. It’s a tender moment between them and John when Jesus entrusts her very life to him. It also stands in very sharp contrast to the selfish callousness of the soldiers, who in these same moments are gambling for Jesus’ clothing.
We too have been given a trust in each other, and we call it the church. We are meant to be the hands and feet of Jesus – the caring heart of Jesus – in a world that stands at times defenseless against the crushing spiritual tide of sin and gloom and sorrow it faces. Our work as the church and our connection to each other is a sign to the world that God has not left it alone or abandoned.
Father Donald Senior, in The Passion of Jesus in the Gospel of John, says it this way: “The beloved disciple represents that community who believes in Jesus and continues his revelation to the world… Giving birth to the Church is, in John’s theology, the first consequence and the first sign of Jesus’ redemptive death. The entrusting of the mother of Jesus to the beloved disciple is an exquisite symbol of that; so, too will be the blood and water that sprang from the side of the crucified Jesus.”
from Cyprian of Carthage (c.200 – 258)
Lord, we pray for the unity of your Church.
Help us to see ourselves as rays from the one sun,
branches of a single tree,
and streams flowing from one river.
May we remain united to you and to each other,
because you are our common source of life;
and may we send out your light
and pour forth your flowing streams over all the earth,
drawing our inspiration and joy from you.
— J. Muckenfuss