First Reading: 1 Timothy 3:1-13
Beloved, this saying is trustworthy: whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task. Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable, married only once, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle, not contentious, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, keeping his children under control with perfect dignity; for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of the Church of God? He should not be a recent convert, so that he may not become conceited and thus incur the Devil’s punishment. He must also have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, the Devil’s trap. Similarly, deacons must be dignified, not deceitful, not addicted to drink, not greedy for sordid gain, holding fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. Moreover, they should be tested first; then, if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. Women, similarly, should be dignified, not slanderers, but temperate and faithful in everything. Deacons may be married only once and must manage their children and their households well. Thus those who serve well as deacons gain good standing and much confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 101:1B-2AB, 2CD-3AB, 5, 6
I will walk with blameless heart. Of mercy and judgment I will sing; to you, O LORD, I will sing praise. I will persevere in the way of integrity; when will you come to me? I will walk with blameless heart, within my house; I will not set before my eyes any base thing. Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I destroy. The man of haughty eyes and puffed up heart I will not endure. My eyes are upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me. He who walks in the way of integrity shall be in my service.
Gospel: John 19:25-27
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 there whom he loved 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 home.
I can’t forget my only date with that guy from the tennis team. He came to pick me up, and as we walked out to his car, I saw his mom wedged behind the driver’s seat on the floor, her legs folded up under her.
“What’s your mom doing?” I asked him, baffled.
“Oh, she’s there because I only have my learner’s permit.” His sheepish face turned just a little red, but not red enough.
“Don’t worry!” came her cheerful, slightly muffled voice. “You won’t even know I’m here!”
We didn’t go out again.
Even if we don’t stuff our moms into backseats, many of us have had our moments with them. Thankfully, we have a beautiful model for honoring our mothers in Jesus’ treatment of Mary in today’s Gospel reading.
Woman, behold your son.
Son, behold your mother.
Your mother. She’s your mother. Jesus didn’t say, “From now on she will be your mother,” but “Behold, your mother,” as if it had always been that way. In two sentences, Jesus totally redefined their relationship. And from that moment, he took her into his home.
In that moment with his Beloved Disciple, Jesus gave Mary to all of us. She’s the mother of Christ, and we are all His body. Is she not our mother, too?
Woman, behold your daughter.
Daughter, behold your mother.
Would I take her into my home as easily?
A few years ago, I hesitated in a small shop in San Juan, Puerto Rico, gripping a carved wooden Mary statue, unable to put it down. Was I going to buy a Mary statue now, after all these years? Mary and I didn’t have a relationship. I respected her, honored her, faithfully attended Mass on her feast days, but I felt like an impostor. Mary was hard to explain—an obstacle to my faith, I thought. I didn’t know what to do with her.
That day in the shop, I had to admit that I had been holding Mary at arms’ length for a long time. For some of us, especially those of us from other faith traditions, Mary is someone we have to get to know from scratch. She’s worth the effort, though. She’s there. She’s willing. She’s waiting patiently. She’s our mother, and she loves us . . . even if we stick her in the backseat sometimes.
Mary, mother of Jesus, be a mother to me now.
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Have you ever felt difficulty in connecting with Mary? When I first started to talk with her, I tried this simple prayer: Mary, Mother of Jesus, be a mother to me now. In stressful or anxious moments this week, why not try asking for her mothering? It’s a great place to start a relationship.
Abbey Dupuy is a homeschooling mama to preschooler twins, a first grader and a new baby. You can find out more about her here.