Love from the Cross

Good Friday

John 19: 25-34
Isa 52: 13—53:12 / Ps 31 / Heb 4: 14-16; 5: 7-9

Woman, behold your son . . . Son, behold your mother.
(John 19:26-27)

He suffered for our inequities,
A shameful death to pay for our sins;
So when faced with our difficulties
Ponder on what the cross of Christ means.

Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son,” and to the disciple, “Behold your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When He had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, He bowed his head and gave up His spirit. Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. (John 19: 25-34)

Reflection

The prophecy of Isaiah (1st Reading) clearly referred to no other than Jesus crucified. “… He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God… He was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. … Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer … the LORD makes his life a guilt offering…” (Isa 53: 4-6,10,11). As God’s Sacrificial Lamb, the great suffering and death of Jesus on the cross was the ultimate guilt offering that the Son of Man bore upon Himself to restore God’s covenant with mankind.

Even at the point of death, Jesus still showed His love and concern for His mother, whose own deep sorrow could only have added to His already unbearable suffering. As His final act of tenderness towards her, He entrusted her to His most beloved disciple, saying “Woman, behold your son,” and to St. John, “Behold your mother.” Jesus was actually saying, “When I am gone, take care of each other.” The symbolism is not lost on us that Christ had in effect given His own mother to us, to intercede for us, and for us to love and honor her for all eternity. That is why our Church has exalted our Blessed Mother Mary, and her image occupies a prominent place of honor in every Catholic home.

Today, as we reflect on the tremendous suffering and humiliation that our Savior endured on the cross for our salvation, and the outpouring of His love over His excruciating pains, let His example inspire us to be more loving in the midst of our own trials and problems. Let His words, “Behold your mother” constantly remind us to respect and care for all the women in our life, including those who come to us in sorrow and material needs. Let His words, “Behold your son” keep us aware that we have a responsibility towards the little ones in this world, the needy and the helpless, the weak and the vulnerable, and those who look to us for guidance and leadership.

Dear Lord Jesus, Your love for us is truly unfathomable. As we meditate on Your great pains on the cross, we resolve to imitate Your loving concern even just in small ways in our life, if only to show how much we appreciate everything You did for our sake, especially for our salvation. Help us Lord in fulfilling this commitment. Amen.

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