When Jesus meets his mother, they just look at each other. For Mary, this is the next step in the journey that began with the utterance ‘Let it be done unto me according to thy word’. In the intervening years Mary has experience love, joy, frustration,fear, admiration, relief and pride at various moments in her son’s life. At this moment, her expression on her face and the look in her eyes is a mirror of the pain in her heart. Despite being filled with sorrow and helplessness, Mary’s raw emotions are witnessed by the public in this most precious moment. For Jesus, the look on his mother’s face may have hurt him more than all the wounds inflicted upon him in the previous 24 hours. Jesus carries the burden of the loss of his family.
Were you there when Mary met her son? Reunions between parents and their children are often filled with joy. Consider the efforts that mothers often go to prepare a special tea or lunch to celebrate a visit from their children. Recall the euphoric displays that take place at airports preceding Christmas as families are reunited. These scenes are a huge contrast to Mary’s suffering when she met Jesus on this journey to Calvary.
We can see Mary’s pain all around us today. It is the pain of parents who witness their children giving up their lives to drugs, addictions, and violence. It is the pain and the struggle of all those reaching out and rebuilding relationships. Similarly, Jesus’ suffering is the pain of all those who cannot control their addictions, their employment situations, their financial woes and illnesses.
In the same way as Jesus reached out to his mother for comfort, we are called to action. When we are overwhelmed, we can follow the example of Jesus and receive support from those in our midst. We are called to show empathy and to take courageous steps for all those who need our help. It is our responsibility to stand shoulder to shoulder with all our brothers and sisters and to enable the enduring love of Jesus and his mother to enter into the fractured situations of our lives.