Today's Reading: John 2:1-11
What are we as Jesus' disciples to learn from “Woman behold thy son”?
- 1. Love for our Family
First, we must love our parents -- no matter what. Sometimes our parents misunderstand us or disapprove of decisions we make. Sometimes they can hurt us grievously. Jesus, too, had felt the hurt of misunderstanding from his family -- even his mother. It's apparent that during part of his ministry, at least, his family didn't understand him. At the Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11), Mary pushed Jesus to change the water into wine, even though he tells her, "My time has not yet come." His family thought, "He is out of his mind," and went to take charge of him (Mark 3:21, 31-35) -- his brothers apparently along with Mary. And “Even his own brothers did not believe in him." (John 7:5) But whether they understand or even approve of us -- whether we can even trust them at this point in our lives -- we are told: "Honor your father and your mother" (Exodus 20:12). Christ-powered love can help heal the hurts from our families. We must love our parents.
- 2. Responsibility for our Family
Second, we are responsible for family obligations. Jesus was clear that his disciples must put commitment to him above family relationships -- sometimes even using hyperbole to drive this point home. Our obedience to Christ must become primary and obedience to parents must become secondary. Having said that, just because we are Christians doesn't mean that we are absolved of family obligations. How do we reconcile our primary commitment to Jesus with responsibility for our families? Sometimes with great difficulty. But to put Christ first doesn't mean that we are free to neglect our other priorities -- it means only that we get our priorities in proper relation to each other. God will give us wisdom to work this out.
Here at the end of his life, we see in Jesus the tender love of a son for his mother -- a mother who had sometimes misunderstood him. As he dies he settles his earthly obligations as best he can, we hear him say, "Dear woman, here is your son ... Here is your mother" (John 19:26-27).
Ralph Wilson Prayer
Father, we see Jesus' example of love and responsibility. As wonderful and loving as family relationships can be, they are often complex and sometimes hurtful. We ask you to help us sort them out. Show us how to love you at the same time we love our family members. Give us the divine wisdom that we need so that we can love as Jesus loves. In His name, we pray. Amen.
Question for Personal Meditation
Why does Jesus make St. John responsible for his mother Mary? What does this tell us about Jesus? What are the implications of Jesus' Third Word for our own personal family relationships?