And that is what the soldiers did. Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Mary is undoubtedly my favorite saint. Strong, faithful, independent, and brave.
I have major empathy for her as I read this passage. It is hard to imagine a mother witnessing her son in this way: beaten, bloodied, abandoned, and dying slowly.
There is a lot of caring and presence in this reading. Mary’s presence is of great comfort and strength to Jesus and Jesus is happy to return the comfort and strength to Mary in this passage: ““Woman, behold your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her into his family. Jesus is telling Mary: you will never be alone.
Even in his moment of greatest suffering, Jesus was caring and present for his own mother in her own moment of greatest suffering.
We most likely know someone who is suffering. This reading reminds us no one has to suffer alone. Pay attention and be present to those in your life who need you.
—Dan O’Brien is a graduate of Loyola Academy and John Carroll University. He has worked for the Jesuits for 20 years and currently serves as a Regional Advancement Director for the Midwest Jesuits based in Milwaukee, WI.
Grant, O Lord, that in our contemplation
of the mystery of your passion
we do not run away from the essential things.
Help us to contemplate you,
your eucharistic love,
your crucified love as the sum reality necessary
to understand all the rest,
as the one reality from which
all the others receive light and clarity.
We ask you this through the intercession
of the one who had the eye to see all essential things:
Mary, your mother.
—Carlo Maria Martini, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!