The Gospel according to John (19:25-34)
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.” There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.
Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately Blood and water flowed out.
Opening Prayer: Mother Mary, in this special month of May, please bless me as I contemplate your suffering at the foot of the cross.
Encountering Christ: I recall in my earlier years in high school and college that all my friends and myself would go and visit another friend’s house. Our friends mothers would welcome us with open arms and make us feel loved. Of course, we went over for other reasons too because those mothers would get up from whatever they were doing and make all of us a huge meal. And in return we would call her Mom! When you define the word “Home” isn’t that a place where there is peacefulness, compassion, love and Mom? It’s a place where mothers, and any of these wonderful ladies that we would visit, wouldn’t hesitate to do anything that would make us satisfied and happy by devoting their love and compassion to us.
Then I think about todays scripture. I think about Jesus, He loved us so much even on His dying breath he made sure that His mother was taken care of, and He gave His Holy Mother to us. The Mother of the Church. Today we celebrate the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, this memorial highlights the truth that the Blessed Virgin Mary is not only the Mother of the Person of Christ, and, therefore, the Mother of God, she is also the Mother of the Church, that is, the Mother of all the faithful.
The Gospel passage chosen for this memorial depicts our Blessed Mother standing at the foot of the Cross. She would have been no other place than directly beneath her Son as He endured His last agony. She did not flee in fear as the other disciples. She was not overwhelmed by grief. She did not sulk in self-pity. No, she was strong and stood by her son with the perfect love and strength of a devoted, caring, compassionate and faithful mother. This act of entrusting John to Mary and Mary to John by Jesus has been understood as an entrustment of all the faithful to the maternal care of Mother Mary. Mother Mary is, therefore, not only the Mother of the Redeemer, Christ Himself, she also becomes the Mother of all the redeemed, the mother of us all, the Mother of the Church.
Consider the spiritual mother you have in Heaven. A mother is one who gives life. Your mother in Heaven is entrusted with the task of bestowing upon you the new life of grace won by the Cross. And as your mother, she will not withhold anything from you that is to your benefit. A mother is also one who is tender with her children. The Immaculate Heart of our mother in Heaven is one that is filled with the greatest tenderness toward you. Though her caresses are not physical, they are much deeper. She caresses with the tenderness of grace which she imparts to you as you pray and turn to her in your need. She gives you the grace of her Son, poured out upon the Cross as the blood and water sprung forth as a font of mercy. Mother Mary pours that mercy upon you as a tender and devoted mother would. She holds nothing back.
Closing Prayer: My dearest Mother, you stood by your Son with unwavering fidelity and love. You cared for Him, nurtured Him, and never left His side. I also am your dear child. I thank you for your loving fidelity toward me and open my heart to the grace of your Son that you bestow upon me throughout life. Help me to be more attentive to your motherly care and to daily grow in gratitude for your presence in my life. Mother Mary, pray for us.
Action of the Day: Reflect, today, upon Mother Mary standing by you in every moment of your life. See her there in your joys and in your sorrows, during your moments of temptation and struggles, in your moments of confusion and clarity. See her there by your side, bestowing every good spiritual gift upon you when you need it the most. She is a true mother, and she is worthy of your love and gratitude.