Lectio: John 19:25-27 (NRSV) – 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.
Contemplation: “When Jesus saw his mother whom he loved.”
Meditation: The image of a mother standing by her crucified son is a dramatic yet tender scene from a human perspective. Jesus sees and attends to his grieving and panging mother, who is close enough to hear his last dying words. He ensures that she is taken in and cared for by John, his beloved disciple, when he says to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”
The gospel of John does not record the infancy narratives of Jesus, like the gospels of Matthew and Luke. In John, the mother of Jesus is not mentioned by name only as “the mother of Jesus.” The mother of Jesus is a person of initiative; she makes things happen. On both the wedding at Cana and now the cross, she mediates between endings to new beginnings. At the wedding, the wine runs out, and the celebration is threatened to end. The mother of Jesus intercedes, new wine is generated, and the wedding feast continues. At the cross, the dark hour of Jesus’ death has arrived. The mother of Jesus stands there, mediating, anguishing, laboring to do her part in bringing for the birth to the new life waiting to burst forth through the resurrection. On both occasions in John’s gospel, the mother of Jesus is compassionate, present, mediating between endings and the birth of new beginnings.
Today I meditate on all the nameless women of initiative that intercede and panged to help birth new and promising beginnings through others and on behalf of others. I give thanks to my mother Olga, who I love, and who is still alive. I also give thanks to Maye’s mother, Maria Luisa, who is now with the Lord. Both of these women stood by Maye and me, mediating the endings and new beginnings of the different phases of our lives. I also give thanks to Maye, my life-long friend, and spouse. I continue to see her intervene and mediate when our children, and now our grandchildren, move through endings and new beginnings in their lives.
Prayer: I pray for the grace to be a ready and willing mediator that pangs for necessary endings and new beginnings.