Scripture: John 19:25-34 (alternate reading: Mark 12:1-12)
25b Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" 27 Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. 28 After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), "I thirst." 29 A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30 When son,Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished"; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 31 Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him; 33 but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.
Old Testament Reading: Genesis 3:9-15,20
9 But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" 10 And he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." 11 He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" 12 The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent beguiled me, and I ate." 14 The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." 20 The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.Meditation: Why was it necessary for the Son of God to be born of a virgin mother - only to suffer rejection, betrayal, and cruel death on a cross? God's love knows no bounds. He created the human race in love for love - to be united with him and with one another in a bond of unbreakable love, peace, and friendship. True love risks all and gives all for the beloved. With the gift of love and fruit-bearing life God also gave freedom and responsibility - freedom to choose for good or for evil, for community or for division, for peace or for strife, for life or for death.
In the wonderous cross of Christ, who shed his blood for our
sins, we see God's unfolding plan of restoration for the human
race. Through his obedience to the Father's will and the willing
sacrifice of his own life for our sake, he reversed the curse of
our first parents' sin and won for us pardon and abundant life.
John tells us in his Gospel account that "God so loved the world
that he gave us his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish
but have eternal life" (John 3:16). God the
Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, humbled himself by taking on human
flesh in the womb of the virgin Mary, so he could become one with
us in our humanity and offer himself as the perfect sacrifice for
our sins and the sin of he world.
Mary's mission is inseparably linked with the mission of
her Son, the Lord Jesus
Mary's mission as the bearer of the Son of God (theo-tokos which means God-bearer in Greek) is inseparably linked with the mission of her Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Through the grace and gift of the Holy Spirit Mary becomes the first disciple and a spiritual mother of a new humanity who are born again through her son, the Lord Jesus.
To become the mother of the Savior, Mary was enriched by God with the gifts of the Holy Spirit to enable her to assume this awesome role. A number of early church fathers saw Mary as a new Eve who cooperated with her Son's mission through her faith and devotion to God's word, and her prompt "yes" to God's will.
Irenaeus, an early second century bishop of Lyons (130-200 AD), described Mary's role in the service of her Son's mission:
"The Lord, coming into his own creation in visible form, was sustained by his own creation which he himself sustains in being. His obedience on the tree of the cross reversed the disobedience at the tree in Eden; the good news of the truth announced by an angel to Mary, a virgin subject to a husband, undid the evil lie that seduced Eve, a virgin espoused to a husband...Throughout her life Mary remained steadfast and faithful to the call and mission God entrusted to her, as the mother of the Son of God who took flesh in her womb. She is the first Christian disciple because she accepted the Gospel and gave her "yes" to God's plan of redemption. She followed her son to the cross and she prayed for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all the disciples at Pentecost. She is a model for us of faith and obedience, hope and perseverance, and love and fidelity. Are you ready to take up your cross and follow the Lord Jesus in his way of love and sacrifice?
As Eve was seduced by the word of an angel and so fled from God after disobeying his word, Mary in her turn was given the good news by the word of an angel, and bore God in obedience to his word. As Eve was seduced into disobedience to God, so Mary was persuaded into obedience to God; thus the Virgin Mary became the advocate of the virgin Eve...
The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith"
(quotes from Against Heresies (Lib. 5, 19, 1; 20, 2; 21,1: SC 153, 248-250. 260-264)
God gives us the grace to say "yes" to his will and to his
transforming work in our lives
What is the key that unlocks the power of God's kingdom and his abundant life in our personal lives? Faith is the free gift of God for all who accept his Son as Lord and Redeemer. Our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus opens the door to all the promises of God who find their fulfillment in Christ. God gives us all the grace and strength we need and he expects us to respond with the same willing obedience and heart-felt trust as Mary did. When God commands he also gives the strength, and means to respond. We can either yield to his grace or resist and go our own way. Do you believe in God's promises and do you yield to his grace?
"Heavenly Father, you offer us abundant grace, mercy, and forgiveness through your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Help me to live a grace-filled life as Mary did by believing in your promises and by giving you my unqualified "yes" to your will and your plan for my life."
1 On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
2 the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.
3 Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God. [Selah]
5 And of Zion it shall be said, "This one and that one were born in her"; for the Most High himself will establish her.
6 The LORD records as he registers the peoples, "This one was born there." [Selah]
7 Singers and dancers alike say, "All my springs are in you."
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: God borrows Mary's flesh to lead humanity to glory, by an anonymous early author from the Greek church
"The virgin mother, when wine was lacking, wanted Jesus to do a
miracle. She was at once answered, 'Woman, what have I to do with
you?' as if to say plainly, The fact that I can do a miracle comes
to me from my Father, not my mother. For it was from the nature of
his Father that he could do miracles but from the nature of his
mother that he could die. When he was on the cross, then, in dying
he acknowledged his mother whom he commended to the disciple,
saying, 'Behold your mother.' And so, when he says, 'Woman, what
have I to do with you? My hour is not yet come" (John 2:4). he is
in effect saying, In the miracle, which I did not from your
nature, I do not acknowledge you. When the hour of death shall
come, however, I shall acknowledge you as my mother, since it is
from you that I can die." (excerpt from LETTER 10.39.27)
Scripture quotations from Common Bible:
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright
1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard
Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the
Division of Christian Education of the National
Council of the Churches of Christ in the United
States of America. Used by permission. All rights
reserved. Citation references for quotes from
the writings of the early church fathers can be
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