12. Jesus Speaks To His Mother And The Disciple

Painting of Jesus on the cross with the Virgin Mary and the Disciple John at his feet.

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.


Quiet moment of asking: we could dare to ask this crucified saviour, before our eyes now: “give us the gift, the privilege, of sharing something of this most personal moment, when you spoke for the final time to two people who meant the most to you, out of all your friends”. And we can turn to Mary and ask her to intimate to us her own sorrows – what did she recall that, as she had perhaps feared, indicated that this awful moment would come? What is the sword that pierces her heart at this moment?


Lord, from the Cross, despite agony that we cannot imagine, you still find the very last remnants of strength to speak to your mother and your beloved follower. These few words would have been such an effort, but you knew that they had to be said. In the power of the Spirit, help us now to a deeper inner knowledge of what you desired to give us here; your blessed mother becomes fully, at this moment, our mother too. Show me, show us, Lord Jesus, that this is given to me too.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, “Woman, this is your son.” Then to the disciple he said, “This is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

John 19: 25-27
NOTICE – A silent contemplation moment

We are aware, by now, of the flight of most of his followers; the “inner circle” of disciples and the larger group of followers, of whom there were possibly as many women as men and, likely, even more women. Save for one man, identified only as the “disciple whom he loved”, the few who remained were women. As, through tears, sweat and blood, he tried to focus his vision, these few were, other than his executioners, the only people whom he could recognise. Everyone else had fled.


Sometimes we meet others who are really struggling and we know that they need our support. With your help, Lord Jesus, we can be like Mary, who loved you, her son, so much; help all mothers through her prayers, when they see their own children in pain and difficulties. Only a mother can really know what Mary knew at this point. Bless all of our mothers today and keep them safe.

Sometimes we have known the loneliness of abandonment by friends, people whom we thought we could trust but who, at the critical moment of our need, ran away. Except for these few, all Jesus’s friends, whom he had come to know so well over three years of extraordinary ministry and working closely together, found his Passion more than they could handle. Filled with fear, they ran, although perhaps there were one or two who, confused, frightened and bewildered, watched from a safe distance. Reflecting on this, we realise that we have felt that pain too. And we recall, uncomfortably, occasions when we’ve let down another person at her or his moment of greatest need. Such insensitivity really hurts.

Help us, Lord, also to know when our words are weak and there is nothing to say. Help us to know that it is sometimes best to keep silent and just to be there for someone else. Give us the grace to be generous with our love and support for anyone we meet who is in pain.

Together we pray; Lord, we want to walk beside you in your suffering. Forgive us; and help us to see you in the suffering of the poor.

Glory be...

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