THREE: Family Values

18 03 2008

Woman, behold your son … Behold, your mother. John 19: 26, 27

In this simple phrase, in the midst of his agony and suffering, Jesus commends the care of his mother over to the beloved disciple, commonly referred to as John.

What is this all about? At other points in the Gospels, Jesus addresses his mother as simply, “Woman.” Take the wedding of Cana: “Woman, what is it to me?” Take another example: When Jesus was told that his mother and brothers were waiting for him, he pointed to the crowd that had assembled around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers.”

There are all sorts of promotion of family values coming from various quarters of political and social pundits today. Here, at the cross, all of their pundit-ing is for naught, for Jesus here overturns culture and the new kind of family values he has been hinting at is brought into being by this saying. Even in the middle of suffering and death, the power of the Gospel is at work. The “proper” thing to do would have been, as the first born son, to give care over to one of his brothers, but Jesus gives this care over to one of his disciples.

New relationships are forged at the cross … relationships that do not rely on anything … not blood, not station, not race or nationality, not even gender, but the common bond we all share in One who died for us and rose again.

It is the Cross which makes these new family values possible.

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