Mary, Christ's greatest gift to the family.
"Woman, behold your son... Son, this is your mother" (Jn.19:26-27).
These are the very last words of Jesus before his death on the Cross of Calvary, his very last exchange. Having exchanged his life for sinful humanity, Jesus also exchanged his mother. Jesus simply gave all for us.
Mary is described as "Our Lady of Sorrows", that is the Feast which the Church celebrates today. She is the woman who bore everything, pondered over every tough word said about Jesus in her heart, and accompanied him till death. The first scary moment was Simeon's prophecy at the presentation of the child Jesus in the temple, "Look, he is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is opposed- and a sword will pierce your soul too, so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare" (Lk.2:34-35). That's quite scary. No mother would like to hear those words. Mary heard them and remained firm. She lost him at the Passover in Jerusalem yet remained committed to find him. She met him on the way to Calvary yet kept going with him to his death. She stood by him at the foot of the Cross. In a sense, Mary was crucified below Christ on the Cross. And those painful words were uttered as she watched her Son expire, "Mother, behold your son". She finally carried Christ at death as he was brought down from the Cross soaked in blood. Hence the reality of the words she heard him speak to the disciple, "Son, behold your mother". What a mother.
As Christ was dying, he knew the value of the mother she had. He knew the spiritual benefits the Blessed Virgin Mary could bring to his followers, and for that reason he gave her over to his beloved disciple. He couldn't have died without such profound hand-over, a gracious gift. He couldn't have denied his loved ones the opportunity of his mother’s maternal protection.
"Mother, behold your son", was an expression to indicate the salvation which Christ has envisioned for his followers. He meant to link humanity intimately to that love entrusted to him by his Father through Mary. Mother, behold your son", meant, "Mother, please, save them, help them in their times of sorrows". "Son, behold your mother", meant that Jesus wanted his followers to take Mary as mother. He spelt out by that action the fact that we have been made adopted sons and daughters through his incarnation. Jesus simply orchestrated his love for all of us. He demonstrated the unique relationship which he shared with his mother and which he wanted his followers to embrace. Mary is therefore the greatest gift that Christ gave to humanity at his death.
I wish to encourage every family today to welcome Mary into their homes. Christ has given her to us, and that's a great privilege. She is the woman who understands the meaning of sorrow because she already went through it intensely. She knows the hearts of the followers of Jesus, and is ready to intervene. To welcome Mary is to appreciate what Jesus did for us. To welcome Mary is to dedicate your family into the Divine Mercy of God. To welcome Mary is to accept the special gift from her Son. To welcome Mary is to put your family into the heavenly insurance of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who declared her blessed. We cannot ask for anything more than having the Blessed Virgin Mary in our families. That’s a great part of the mission of the Family Apostolate.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary intercede for us.