Sunday

03 April 2011

"Then he said to the disciple, 'Here is your mother.' And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home." (v. 27)

Background

One of the hallmarks of John's Gospel is the care taken to show Jesus words and actions as being inextricably linked. It is in John's gospel that we find the healing of the blind man (John 9:6) follows immediately after Jesus' statement, "I am the light of the world" (John 9:5); Here too we see Jesus' statement "I am the bread of life" (John 6:35) comes after the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:1-14). Throughout John's Gospel we are also repeatedly told of situations in which Jesus travels in secret (John 7:10), times when he escaped effortlessly from angry crowds (John 8:58) and occasions when he leaves unnoticed while others debate the significance of his actions (John 9:11-12). This image of an elusive Jesus mirrors perfectly the fact that Jesus hearers in John's Gospel are constantly struggling to come to terms with his remarkable words and actions.

In today's reading we find Jesus actions and words linked once again. As Jesus hangs on the cross in the ultimate act of selfless love, he calls his friend and his mother to look to each other's needs before their own and provide the love and care that each will need in their time of grief.

Jesus' words may seem untypically clear on this occasion yet they are as challenging as his claim to be "the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6) or "the gate for the sheep" (John 10:7). Jesus' meaning on this occasion may seem to be simple but in thinking of others in a time of unspeakable pain, he demonstrates the extraordinary uncompromising and demanding depth of love we are called to show to one another.

To Ponder

On Mothering Sunday and every day, how willing are we to love our friends and families with the kind of utterly selfless love Christ showed for us?

Christ speaks to his mother as she watches him face unspeakable pain. How can Christ's example of love and hope help us face times of challenge and difficulty within our families?

On Mothering Sunday and at other times of family based celebration, how can the Church show compassion towards those for whom family life has been traumatic or tragic?

Bible notes author: The Revd Jenny Pryde

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