Behold Your Mother: Reflections on the Seven Last Words Part 3

Niccolò_Di_Pietro_Gerini_-_Crucifixion_with_the_Virgin_and_St_John_-_WGA16550

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.- John 19:26-27

If there was one thing I liked about last night’s Passion on Fox, it was that Mary (played by Trisha Yearwood) played a more prominent role than expected, singing four songs throughout the show. With that said, one thing I wish they showed was a scene where Jesus asks John to take care of his mother.

There is a lot of symbolism and a huge breach of tradition within this scene. For one thing, it proves that Jesus has no biological siblings because if he did, those biological siblings would’ve had the job of taking care of Mary after Jesus died. Another important thing is how Jesus addresses Mary. He calls her “Woman,” the same title he used at the Wedding of Cana.

I’m currently reading Venerable Fulton Sheen’s Life of Christ and the awesome archbishop spends three and a half pages meditating on this particular verse from the Gospel of John. By calling Mary “Woman” at the Wedding of Cana, Jesus is faced with the reality that after changing the water into wine, He will set Himself on the road to the Cross. In screenwriting terms, Mary acts as the herald, giving Jesus the call to adventure. By saying “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come,” Jesus is acknowledging that eventually, his hour on the Cross will come and that Mary will be there with him.

When Jesus calls Mary “Woman” at the Cross, he acknowledges her as the New Eve, the new mother of all living. By giving her over to John, He gives her over to all his disciples and, by extension, us. In this small gesture, Jesus made Mary our mother.

Given that I did like aspects of last night’s Passion on Fox, the song I’m gonna share with you is the last one Trisha Yearwood sang as she held onto the illuminated cross:

Father, Forgive Them: Reflections on The Seven Last Words Part 1

Maarten van Heemskerck, 1550

Maarten van Heemskerck, 1550

 

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”-Luke 23:34

Whenever I heard this particular verse from the Passion narrative, I always wondered if someone snarked “We know exactly what we’re doing.”  In the eyes of the Romans, they were eliminating a threat to the peace. In the eyes of the Pharisees, they were helping to eliminate a blasphemer, a false prophet. John 18:14 says “Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.”

But I don’t think they really knew what they were doing. If they were aware of the fact that they were condemning an innocent man to death, that their Messiah was right in front of them…I think they would be like me and volunteer to take Jesus’s place on the Cross.

I don’t think I can undergo what Jesus went through on the road to Calvary. But the fact that He willingly went through all of it so that humanity can be reunited with its Creator compels me to thank Him and to ask for his mercy.

I often said before that forgiveness often seems like something unimaginable to do. It took me a long time for me to let go of all the pain and anger I held towards those who’ve hurt me. It’s an ongoing process and you never know how much you’ve let go until you look back and realize how little weight you’re carrying.

When I think about those who have hurt me, I don’t see them as evil monsters the way I used to. I realize now that they were all broken in some way and that instead of trying to work through the pain, they instead chose to break me. But they didn’t know what they were doing. I think that the pain they inflicted upon me was not deliberate, but just a symptom of some larger problem they had that I couldn’t fix. It’s why now I pray that they will become aware of that pain and try to find healing in God’s mercy.

Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.