Charlene Bader reflects on Mary's Fifth Sorrow, Jesus Dies on the Cross, in light of our basic human desire to be included.
Jesus' dying words were a gift of community to those He loved most:
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother,
"Woman, behold, your son."
Then he said to the disciple,
"Behold, your mother." (John 19:26-27)
As Mary's physical motherhood ends with Jesus' death, He asks her to begin a spiritual motherhood, not just for John, but for any, for all, who might desire to slip their name into Scripture as "the disciple whom [Jesus] loved." (John wrote several opportunities in his Gospel account for readers to substitute their names as "the beloved disciple" of Jesus. See John 13:23, John 19:26, John 20:2, John 21:7, John 21:20.)
This is the fifth post in a series on how Mary's Seven Sorrows reflect our seven basic human desires. Consider the desire to be included in light of Mary's Fifth Sorrow, Jesus Dies on the Cross.
Each of us longs to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Our first experience of community is within our family. As a child, did you feel included in your family? What about your church — did parish life help you feel known, welcomed, and included? Sometimes a bad encounter at church makes us think God is exclusive, definitely not interested in someone like me.
But Jesus loves community. As He died, Jesus created a community, a spiritual family, for his disciples that continues even today: "Woman, behold your son. ... Son, behold your mother." Mary, recognizing her unique relationship with Jesus wasn't meant to be exclusive, expands her motherhood, desiring to include anyone in need of a spiritual mother.
Mary responded to Jesus' desire for community by opening her heart to all. How will I respond? Are there ways I can open my heart to include others, to create communities where people feel invited and welcomed?
As a parent, how can I help meet my child's need to be included?
This is the fifth in a series on Mary's Seven Sorrows in light of our seven basic human desires. The first post is Sorrow, Prophecy, & The Desire To Be Affirmed. The second post is Sorrow, Escape, & The Desire To Be Safe. The third post is Sorrow, Absence, & The Desire To Be Chosen. The fourth post is Sorrow, Suffering, & The Desire To Be Touched.
For more on the seven basic human desires, check out Seven Desires: Looking Past What Separates Us to Learn What Connects Us by Mark & Debra Laaser.
Copyright 2021 Charlene Bader
Image: Dimitri Houtteman (2019), Unsplash
About the Author
Born and raised in Texas, Charlene Bader enjoys teaching, editing, and writing while raising 5 boys with her husband, Wally. She learned to love Scripture from her Baptist parents and liturgy from her Episcopal grandma. In 2003, she converted to Catholicism. Charlene is passionate about helping others experience a personal, relevant connection to the Lord in their everyday lives. She writes personally at her blog, Sunrise Breaking.