'Woman, this is your son…This is your mother.'

We take time to still our body and mind, handing all cares and concerns to God for this time and becoming aware of God holding us and all that’s within us in loving care.

Let go of any thoughts or feelings causing tension, concern or stress, physically, mentally …

Allow anything that comes between you and God’s care to relax and fade as you breathe in …

Allow a sense of God’s presence to grow in you as you breathe out…

Who can imagine the scene as Jesus speaks his third words from the Cross? We hear the words from John’s Gospel:

John 19:26-27

‘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.’

This is the moment Mary had been dreading all her life – the sword that Simeon predicted long ago would pierce her heart. How can any mother bear to watch her child die? John, with his brother James, had asked Jesus to give him the place of honour at his side in the kingdom. Now he stands in that place, watching the death of his beloved Master.

Take time to imagine this scene and to hear Jesus speak these words to the Beloved Disciple and to Mary. In what way do the words touch your own heart, your own experience? What most stays with you?

We listen now to a reading from Matthew’s Gospel which connects with this scene:

Matthew 12:46-50

‘He was still speaking to the crowds when suddenly his mother and his brothers were standing outside and were anxious to have a word with him. Someone said to him: Your mother and brothers are standing outside and want to speak to you. But to the man who told him this Jesus replied, 'Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?' And stretching out his hand towards his disciples he said, 'Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.'

During his lifetime Jesus doesn’t claim a special status for his family – not even his mother. He claims kinship for all those who hear God’s word through him and keep it. But Mary kept God’s word more than anyone else on earth, bearing him in her body as the Word made flesh at Bethlehem. Now Jesus places his beloved disciple, and with him, each one of us, into her loving care. The disciples are gathered round her when the Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost. What does this mean for you in your own life and discipleship?

Mary is often depicted in art as the Mother of Sorrows, embracing her dead Son in death as she embraced him at his birth in Bethlehem. Allow yourself to see this scene. Imagine yourself near Mary… What would it be like to experience her closeness and loving care, gifted to you by Jesus in his dying moments? Take time to speak to her, or to Jesus, about your feelings at this time.

You have given all to me
To you Lord, I return it
Everything is Yours
Do with it what you will
Give me only your love and your grace
That, is enough for me.

3. 'Woman, this is your son...'
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