Near the cross of Jesus there stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Seeing his mother there with the disciple whom he loved, Jesus said to his mother: “Woman, there is your son.” In turn he said to the disciple: “There is your mother.” From that hour onward, the disciple took her into his care. John 19:25-27
The Doctors of the Church have long understood this dialogue as John representing the Church, with Mary as Mother of the Church. Jesus established his Church, with his Mother as its Mother. This is the Church of Christ. We are the Church of Christ.
We are the called out, the ekklesia, which is the Greek word used for our English word Church. Ekklesia is those called out for a purpose. We are the Church, the called out for a purpose, established by Christ for his purpose.
We are called out to be wisdom. We are called out to be courage. We are called out to be love.
We are called out from the Cross. In fifty days, the Holy Spirit will descend upon the Apostles, but today from the Cross Jesus establishes his Church. From the Cross. Because it is from the Cross – and only from the Cross – that we will get true wisdom, divine wisdom, the wisdom that does not change nor weaken. It is from the Cross – and only from the Cross – that we will get true courage, holy courage, the kind of courage that stands in the face of earthly power because the power of God is mightier than the power of the world. It is from the Cross – and only from the Cross – that we can understand and share true love, the self-sacrificing love of the Cross that sustains us in our earrthly lives and perfects us for eternal life. The self-love of the world ultimately fails, for true love – the love that flows from the Cross – is love of generosity rather than selfishness. It is a giving love rather than a taking love.
Only John and the women are still at the Cross by this point in the Passion. The strength that sustains John and the women is a lonely strength. The strength of the Cross sustains us as we are lonely without the acclaim and honor of the world because we choose the Cross rather than the world. Mary and the women represent the feminine strength, the strength to persevere, to remain when others have already run away. Jesus and John represent the masculine strength, the strength to embrace the whipping, the crown of thorns, and the nails. All of us, all made in the image and likeness of God, have both the feminine and masculine strength, and we need both kinds to carry our crosses and persevere through the days of persecution and apostasy. We are called out to be the light of Christ in the world, a Church protected by the Holy Spirit and comforted by our Mother Mary.
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.