In a previous blog I presented some basic arguments why we as Catholics believe that Mary is our Mother – one of which came from the Gospel of John. Over the past couple of days, I was reading the Gospel, and I came across the passage again in which Our Lord gave Mary to be our Mother. As I was reading though, I noticed something that I hadn’t noticed before.
For ease of reference, here is the passage again:
When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son.
After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own. (Jn 19:26-27)
The common position of Protestants regarding this passage is that Our Lord wasn’t doing anything more than simply entrusting the care of His earthly mother to the disciple John before He died. In my previous blog I mentioned some arguments against the typical Protestant position which show that Jesus was doing so much more than simply entrusting the care of Mary to another before He died. But as I was reading the passage a couple of days ago, something else occurred to me. I noticed that Jesus FIRST addressed Mary, saying: “Woman, behold thy son”. THEN He addressed “the beloved disciple” saying: “Behold thy mother”.
Common sense tells us that if Jesus were simply entrusting His earthly mother to the care of the disciple John, surely He would have addressed St. John first. But He didn’t. He first addressed Mary; then addressed St. John. This was certainly no accident. Rather than Jesus entrusting Mary to the care of St. John, He was entrusting the care of St. John to Mary. And not just that, but as I mentioned in my previous blog, by addressing Mary as “Woman” and not addressing St. John by name, He showed that His intention was universal – “Woman” because Mary is the new Eve (see Gen 2:23); and “the disciple” because the “beloved disciple” throughout the Gospel of John refers to all those who would later come to believe in Christ.
As brethren of Our Blessed Lord, we need to put our faith in Him and trust that He knew what He was doing when He gave us His Mother to be our Mother. He knew that the Church as the family (or household) of God needs a Mother. A family without a mother is a broken home – and so God the Son knew that His own family would not be complete unless He gave His Blessed Mother to be our Mother too.
May we learn to love her as Jesus Christ did. Just as Christ obeyed the 4th Commandment of His Heavenly Father (see Ex 20:12) by bestowing His glory upon His Mother; may we too love and honour Mary. May we renew our devotion to her knowing that she will always faithfully lead us to Her Son encouraging us to do whatever He tells us (Jn 2:5). And like St. John, may we take her into our homes and be faithful in leading our children to her – because she is the surest way to lead our children to Jesus.