Today’s Triduum liturgy includes a proclamation of the Passion according to John. Whether sung or spoken, this scripture passage is powerful. The symbolism in John’s account gives us much to meditate on-especially those of us engaged in the ministries of Christian initiation.
Here is one example: “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour, the disciple took her into his own home” (John 19:26-27). From the cross, Jesus forges a new relationship between Mary and John. We may be tempted to see this as a devotional message, or a sentimental one. How sweet. But it’s about something more fundamental.
As scripture scholar Raymond Brown observed in his great commentary on John’s gospel, the relationship between Mary and John shows us the Christian’s relationship to the Church. The relationship is reciprocal. Mary is mother to the beloved disciple, and the beloved disciple cares for Mary and takes her into his home. All of this speaks eloquently of the love of the community of disciples that Jesus leaves behind.
There are commands for us here, in the ministry of initiation. Church, take care of your disciples! Disciples, bring the church to where you live. Take her into your home!