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12th Station of the Cross

Today's Scripture Readings are: Psalms 6, 94; Jer 15:10-21; Phil 3:15-21; and John 12:20-26

On this Tuesday we stop at the 12 Station of the Cross: Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Disciple

Scripture Reading: "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

This event is amazing simply because it highlights Jesus' concern for his earthly mother, Mary, during a time of excruciating pain. At the cross of Jesus were four women who loved him. It would be natural for his mother to be present. What grief and pain must have pierced her heart as she watched her son die on the cross. Go back to Jesus' birth and his presentation in the temple at 8 days of age. There, the prophetic Simeon had foretold great suffering for her (Luke 2:35). Now, it is coming true.
Along with Mary were three other women. Mary's sister, Salome was the mother of the disciples James and John (Mk.15:40; Matt.27:56). She was rebuked by Jesus when she asked him to give her sons the chief places in his kingdom. She was humble enough to both receive his rebuke and to follow him to the cross. Mary Magdalene was especially grateful that Jesus had freed her from a demon-possesed life. She would not leave him even in his death and she would be the first to return to the tomb after the Sabbath. We do not know much about the fourth woman, Mary of Clophas, who came to support the other women and to be with Jesus in his last agony.

But it's Jesus with Mary that captivates my meditation. When he recognizes his mother standing at the foot of the cross he immediately takes concern for her welfare and instructs John to take her as his own mother. And he asks Mary to accept John as her own son. By this time, we can assume that Mary was completely united with her son in his divine mission. We can say she really is the first Christian because she accepted the gospel and gave her "yes" to God's plan of redemption way back at his birth; but it's one thing to agree to an idea, it's another to pay the price of sacrifice. As Mary followed her son to the cross she is a model for us of faith and obedience, hope and perseverance, and love and fidelity. Jesus said to us, be ready to take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus in his way of love and sacrifice...that is most evident today.

A Prayer:

"Father, even as Mary's devotion is a model for my faith, so also help me to embrace the suffering of the cross in life itself. There is much pain in the world, and in our own pain we cry out for healing, deliverance and mercy. You've spoken in many ways that 'my grace is sufficient for you'; yet, it is still painful, and it is still sacrifice that calls me deeply to trust in you even when all help seems gone. You are Lord, Savior, our hope and our all things we pray. Amen."


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