Holy Tuesday – Family
25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. — John 19:25-27
The word “family” can have a different meanings for each of us. So much goes into how we would each define it, from our background, to our experience, to even our stage of life. Regardless, we all have people that we would consider our family, a group of people on whom we rely. Our people.
However, one of the constant factors of our family is that they are made of people. And, without drudging up anything, we can be let down by people. We can have expectations that are completely unrealistic, so much so that when our family cannot meet them, we feel slighted. The flip side of that coin is that we also can feel the weight of those similar unrealistic expectations when they are imposed on us.
There is one family where all of those things get pushed aside; that family is the family of God. When we gather with God as our father and Jesus as our brother, we get a glimpse of what family was intended to be, one where offense is confronted with forgiveness, where abandonment is fought with open welcoming arms, and where disdain is covered with love. Only this family offers the unconditional love for which we long.
Even on the cross, Jesus recognizes this. More importantly, He recognizes that family extends beyond parents or siblings when Jesus is involved. For one last time, He reminds His mother that her Son is the Savior, that what had been foretold was now happening, and that even as He took on the sins of humanity, He was in that moment still her boy. Additionally, He turns to look at the one disciple who is there—John—and charges Him with taking care of His mother, as Jesus is identifying John as His brother.
This is the kind of family we are with Jesus. For most of us, we perhaps wouldn’t ever even cross paths or hang out or share a meal. The love of Jesus transforms that, makes us family that can put all the expectations and burden and wrongdoing on Jesus, because He can handle it. In turn, He makes us something we would otherwise be incapable of becoming on our own and, by His Spirit, teaches us to love, to forgive, to welcome, to be the family we all desire.