Wednesday of Oculi
"Woman, behold your son!" "Behold your mother!"
In the name of Jesus. Amen.
At the point in time of tonight’s text, the wedding vows are being spoken. True, it doesn’t sound like, “I take you to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish,” et cetera, but in this last word, “Woman, behold your son,” and “Behold your mother,” Jesus is leaving His mother to be joined to His bride. Next week, the vows will be complete as Jesus cries out the word by which indicates the leaving of His Father; but there is more to that word that simply leaving Father.
And there is also more to this third word, too. From a purely cultural view, Jesus is probably His mother’s caretaker at this point. When Mary was very young and with child by the Holy Spirit, she married Joseph, who was likely considerably older than her. Therefore, some 33 years later, as Jesus hangs on the cross dying, that Joseph had already died, and the task of caring for Mary fell to her oldest Son, Jesus. Now, Jesus is dying, and He makes sure that Mary is cared for. As much as Jesus is substitute for mankind on the cross, now John, the young disciple, becomes the substitute son in Jesus’ place, and he is given the task of caring for the Mother of God. It’s the work of a loving son; of course Jesus would look out for His own mother in this way.
“Jesus, loving to the end / Her whose heart Thy sorrows rend, / And Thy dearest human friend: / Hear us, holy Jesus.”