Faith that Works

Teaching middle schoolers how to live and practice their faith

THIRD WORD

“When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he said to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he said to the disciple: Behold thy mother.” John 19: 26-27

Reflection: Recently my husband’s family had a meeting.  It was quite the fete, getting all seven children and most of their spouses in one state, let alone one house, for dinner.  Before we ate, we gathered in the living room and my father-in-law told us what we all already knew but had never discussed as a family.

He was dying, and quickly.

As we took it all in together and were with one another in our sorrow, he said something that I will never forget- “I’m not worried.  My only worry is that you all take care of mom.”  Even at the time I thought of this word of Christ- “Son behold your mother.  Mother, behold your son.”

Even as he was dying, Jesus’s thoughts were all about others.  First he forgives all those responsible for his execution, even giving them the benefit of the doubt, saying “they do not know what they are doing.”  His next word is full of the promise of eternal life for the thief on his side.

This third word of Jesus is beautiful in his care for his mother, but also in the promise it holds for us.  While he is speaking to John specifically about caring for his mother, the way John writes his gospel opens the statement for all of us who try to follow Christ.  As the disciple whom Jesus loves, we are to take care of Mary, our mother, and make sure that she is loved and respected first and foremost.  But he also gives us into her care, making her the mother of all his beloved disciples.

The bible tells us that from that moment, John took her into his home. There are several potential challenges in this for us.  Maybe Christ is asking us to look at how we treat his mother.  Maybe he is asking us to care for someone in our life who is lonely or grieving.  Or maybe even it’s as simple as thinking of others before ourselves.  What can we do “from this moment” to be a little more selfless?

Questions for prayer and reflection:

How can I take Mary into my home?  Can I pray the rosary more or learn more about her?

Who is someone in my life who is mourning?  How can I take them into my home through prayer and action?

How do I treat my own mother?  Does she know that I love and appreciate her?

Possible activities:

Learn about a Marian apparition, especially a less commonly known one.  My favorite is our Lady of Hope in Pontmain, France.

Write cards for someone who is lonely or grieving.  Write a letter to your mom telling her why you appreciate her.

One thought on “Behold your mother

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