Jesus in his third word from the cross makes provision for his mother by committing her to the care of his disciple John. In this meditation from Death On A Friday Afternoon: Meditations On The Last Words Of Jesus From The Cross, R. J. Neuhaus discusses Mary’s role in the story of Jesus.
It is no secret that Catholics have a special place in their hearts for Mary. And Neuhaus, as a Catholic priest, gives Mary a very Catholic respect. But it has been oft commented on that Protestants have in many cases overreacted to the Catholic view of Mary by making her role less than it actually was—of almost relegating her to little more than a character in a Nativity play.
But Neuhaus makes the point that the watchword of Mary should be ours. Her watchword is what she told the servants at the wedding at Cana:
Do whatever he tells you.
But there is more to Mary than even that. Neuhaus calls Mary the “nexus, the meeting point between the Divine and human in Jesus Christ.” He ponders how Mary yielded her will from the first assent to the Angel’s message— “Let it be as you say”— to the silent assent to Jesus’ request of her and John.
How her faith must have been tested as she stood at the foot of the cross and remembered the words of the angelic messenger:
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High…and of His kingdom there will be no end.
No doubt, all the disciples had to be wondering how Jesus’ life and ministry had come to such an end. But Mary had heard directly from the agent of God. It certainly had to feel at that moment that there was not going to be any unending kingdom. Yet she stayed till the bitter end, watching.
And she waited.
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