Daily Devotional for 04.09.2020 RESURGAM 2020 - Journeying through the 14 Stations of the Cross Station # 12: Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the beloved Disciple
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. John 19: 25-27 John, the “beloved disciple” describes a moving moment during the last hours of Jesus’ life as He suffers on the cross. There is a small group of people standing at the foot of the cross watching the life drain from Jesus, His Mother Mary, Mary’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, Mary Magdalene and John. Who can understand Mary’s suffering as she stood there watching her son die? The words of Simeon the Prophet during Jesus' dedication at the Temple, echoed in her head, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.” Luke 2:34-35 . That sword was now thrust deep into her soul, the pain, the unbearable pain, made her feel that she too was dying. Yet, at that moment she dare not consider herself, her pain was nothing compared to the pain of her son. Mary stood there, her face now dry, the tears that flowed so copiously over the last 24 hours as the horror unfolded, had ceased, there were no more tears. She had no words, her mind was numb, all she could do was look. Oh how much she would give to hold her son, to stop His suffering, for a moment she raised her hands towards him … then the oceans broke once more through her eyes and she fell to the ground, broken. Jesus forced His blood-encrusted eyelids apart as He heard her sobbing. Tears welled up in His own eyes and flowed down His cheek. Jesus saw her pain and distress, such things are never hidden from the eyes of God .... ever. He sees the pain of all humanity and weeps over each person as though they were His only child. The Mother distraught at the loss of her baby, the broken wife beaten and bruised by an abusive husband, the child shattered by the violence of a bully, the man desperate and penniless living under a blanket made of cardboard, so much pain, so many stories. God knows all, sees all …. and weeps. This is the reason Jesus came … and died, it was God’s antidote for man’s pain and suffering. On the cross, He took it all, every last bit of it, so that the broken might be healed. Now with outstretched arms, He says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Mat 11:28. With arms outstretched, Jesus turned His head towards Mary and said, “Woman, behold your son” and then to His beloved friend John, “Son, behold your mother” . Here at the foot of the cross was the very beginning of the Church’s commissioning to minister with the hands of Jesus. Jesus’ hands were fixed to the cross, but John’s were free. At that moment, the Holy Spirit anointed John’s hands to become the hands of Jesus. As John allowed himself to be led, he became an extension of Jesus Himself. Mary’s pain was soothed by the loving embrace of another “son”. This is what the Church is called to be in the earth, a healing community that reaches out with hands anointed by the Spirit to perform the ministry of Jesus to a dying world. Luke begins the Book of Acts writes, In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach. Acts 1:1 The Gospels describe the Ministry of Jesus while He was a man, while He was “in the flesh”. Now, Luke says, the story advances, this book is an account of what Jesus continues to do - through His Body, the Church. The ministry goes on. Jesus’ Preaching and Teaching continues – through the mouth of the Church, His miracles continue, now performed by anointed hands submitted to the leading of the Spirit, His compassion is expressed by lives committed to a life of servanthood, giving of themselves to live and love like Jesus. Jesus is alive and well and ministering through His Church. St. Francis who was so passionate about the cross wrote this prayer that each day he might be “like Jesus”: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen. Wherever you are today, let Jesus minister His life and love through you. Go out and heal the world.