“But standing by 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 near, 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 to his own home.” (Jn 19: 25-27)
St. John, the beloved disciple, already had a home, and a mother, in the usual sense. She was Salome, Zebedee’s wife, who was still alive and also present at the Cross (Mk 15: 40). The young John still lived in the house of his parents. But the Lord entrusts John to His own Mother, who was poor, not in the usual sense. At the Cross the Theotokos becomes John’s mother in the spiritual sense; She is called to nurture, protect, and care for him through Her motherly presence, guidance, and ceaseless prayers. And in this sense, according to patristic teaching, She becomes “Mother” to all of us. So, what is said to John is said to all of us: “Behold, your mother!”
This morning, as those of us on the Old(er) Calendar begin the Dormition Fast, and others of us prepare to celebrate the joy-filled sadness of the Dormition (Assumption) of our ceaselessly-praying Lady, I once again let Her into my “home.” May I always stay close to the Mother of Life, who does not abandon any one of us on our cross-carrying journey, even in Her Dormition.