Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
(I Timothy 3:1-13; John 19:25-27)
Most people think of Jesus in the gospel today as providing a home for his widowed mother. Such understanding, however, ignores the fact that Jesus has brothers who advise him (see John 7:3-7). Catholic dogma prohibits thinking of these men as Mary’s physical sons. But it is quite possible that they would care for her just as they show a worldly concern for Jesus. There must be another, deeper explanation for Jesus giving his mother to the disciple whom he loved.
It should be remembered that the “beloved disciple” is distinctive precisely for his faith in Jesus. After Mary Magdalene tells Peter and him that Jesus’ body was not to be found in his tomb, the two race to investigate the situation. Peter enters the tomb first and is said to have noticed Jesus’ burial cloths. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved enters and is said to have seen and believed.
In today’s passage Jesus gives Mary to his beloved disciple. He is said to have taken Mary into “his own.” Home is the interpretation most translators give, but the Greek is actually less precise. It is quite possible that “his own” is his faith in Jesus as Lord which Mary now accepts. She is physically a “mother of sorrows” because she has witnessed the death of her only son. She is even more sorrowful because the Lord of Creation has died the most humiliating of deaths to redeem sinful humanity of its sins.
Faithful to the Gospel of John, we too believe in Jesus as Lord. He has died so that we, accepting him as Lord and imitating his ways, may live with him in glory.