Saturday, 9 March 2013

John 19: 25-27: Mothering Sunday


Our Gospel reading encourages us to think about mothering beyond biological relationship. On one hand we could just read this as Jesus the good son looking after his mother, making sure that she will be looked after.

But there is more than that going on here or else why would John tell us  this story  - and he is the only gospel-writer who does.
Jesus is not just looking after Mary, but is encouraging John and Mary to enter into a new relationship. Not long before , Jesus has said to his disciples "love one another ".  This could be a concrete example of that. Jesus is (even from the cross) teaching his followers that his gospel of love is about more than the old ties of family.

And it is also interesting to see who is named as being present at foot of cross. Mary (mother) , Mary's sister,  Mary wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalen. At least one of those women is a witness to Jesus’ resurrection. In fact  Mary Magdalen will be named by John as the first witness to the resurrection.
I wondered if I was just being fanciful wondering if Clopas could be the same person who is named as Cleopas in Luke's account of the road to Emmaus, The writer of at least one commentary (Barnabas Lindars) agrees with me - so that may be 2 resurrection witnesses. Could it be that Jesus is founding a new community in which he wants his followers in his earthly life to hear the witness of his resurrection life and to continue to live in love but with new hope and new work ?

Then what starts as a mushy reading for Mothering Sunday turns out to be a challenge to live as people inspired by the new life of risen Christ to love others . Even mothers. In Jesus name. Amen.

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