John Contemplates Mother Mary
In preparation for this meditation read: John 1:13-14: 2:1-12: 19:25-28a)
I, John, have meditated on and contemplated the life of Jesus at great length, making it the focus and centre of my life. It was so remarkable an experience to know and love Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life. It is I who call him the Word who lived eternally in the loving bosom of the Father and, yet, as Word he became flesh being born of Mary who conceived him through her courageous faith and love. In my prologue I state, “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us… of his fullness we have all received.” There is a direct role of Mary in this mystery of love which mirrors God’s Covenant with Israel, God’s people.
Because I have had more time to reflect upon this mystery than the other three evangelists, I carefully involved Mary and her beautiful acts of fidelity in two scenes in my Gospel. I try to emphasize in the first half of my work (chapters 1-12) the great gift of our faith. I want each person to come to know Jesus Christ personally as Mary did. I want people to make a positive decision for the absolute trust and belief in Mary’s son. My Gospel is one of decision for Jesus as the source of Revelation–God’s revelation to us. Mary, but I always refer to her as the “Mother of Jesus,” is highlighted in two scenes in my proclamation of Good News. These scenes complement each other and are essential to both messages of my Gospel: faith in the first part; love, in the second part.
At Cana Mary was present as the Woman of faith who acted as the awakening of Jesus to perform a marvellous sign of generosity and hospitality at a wedding; but went beyond the marvel to the meaning of the sign. It is the first of Jesus’ seven signs in my Gospel and it happens on the seventh day of what I intend to be a new creation. Jesus’ hour of glorification is pre-figured. The word “hour” means his Passion. Death, and Resurrection. He is symbolized in my Gospel as the Paschal lamb of God. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was always there where Jesus was. Her words, “They have no wine,” initiated the first of Jesus’ signs. His disciples were led to believe in him because of this. Later, the Church would see her intercessory power. It would also show that the eucharist and baptism are signified. And we must not forget that marriage, too, is a great part of this event. Look to the mother of Jesus when you have need of something. She will tell you TO DO WHATEVER Jesus tells us. Isn’t that a wonderful example of how our devotion to Jesus should be enhanced?
The final event of Mary’s presence in the fourth Gospel is the scene at the foot of the Cross which I have made central to seven happenings at the Crucifixion narrative. I realize that Jesus’ death on the cross is the supreme sign of God’s unconditional love for us. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the beloved disciple who represents not only me, but all believers now receive the spirit of Jesus and become the Church. Jesus is enthroned upon the cross. His death is victory over death, sin, and evil. This giving of Jesus never ceases and he gave Mary to me as mother and I, together with all of you, become sons and daughters of Mary. The Church is born at the foot of the cross for Jesus’ hour has now come in its fullness… “And of his fullness, we have all received.”
I would like to share with you, the words of the first commentator of my Gospel–Origen, a priest of the third century. He truly captured what I wanted to say when Jesus gave Mary to me and to you in that most solemn moment.
We might dare say, then, that the Gospels are the first fruits of all Scriptures, but that the first-fruits of the Gospels is that according to John, whose meaning no one can understand who has not leaned on Jesus’ breast nor received Mary from Jesus to be his mother also. But he who would be another John must also, such as John, be shown to be Jesus, so to speak. For if Mary had no son except Jesus, in accordance with those who hold a sound opinion of her, and Jesus says to his mother, “Behold your son” and not, “Behold, this man also is your son,” he has said equally, “Behold, this is Jesus whom you bore.” For indeed everyone who has been perfected “no longer lives, but Christ lives in him,” and since” Christ lives” in him, it is said of him to Mary, “Behold your son,” the Christ.