In this 3rd Word, Jesus speaks a word to those few who have remained...

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

Family is complicated.  While family looms large in the early scenes of Jesus' life, namely his birth, they are almost invisible after that...except for the time when his mother, Mary, and some of his brothers show up to urge him to come home.  At that point, Jesus essentially says his family are those who are with him in his ministry.  And now here, at the darkest, saddest, most tragic moment of his life, here is Mary...once again.  How often family is recovered in and by great suffering.  Birth and death have a way of constituting families...bringing them back into view when, for whatever reason, they have faded into a deep background.

Family is complicated but family matters.  There is something profoundly human about family. The grief of a mother for her son and the compassion of a son for this mother is on full display. The community that Jesus is leaving behind is to be more than family, but never less.  The complications of family are to be gathered up, healed, and made whole in and through the life of the community that will be formed by the way of the cross. No one is to be left homeless or orphaned or alone.