Daily Reading & Meditation

Monday (September 15): "Standing by the cross of Jesus"

Scripture: John 19:25-27   (alternate reading: Luke 7:1-10)

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.

Meditation: Does suffering or sorrow weigh you down? The cross brings us face to face with Jesus' suffering. He was alone. All his disciples had deserted him except for his mother and three women along with John, the beloved disciple. The apostles had fled in fear. But Mary, the mother of Jesus and three other women who loved him were present at the cross. They demonstrate the power of love for overcoming fear (1 John 4:18).

Love sustains us in hope through griefs and trials
At the beginning of Jesus' birth, when he was presented in the temple, Simeon had predicted that Mary would suffer greatly - a sword will pierce through your own soul (see Luke 2:33-35). Many have called Mary a martyr in spirit. Bernard of Clairvaux said: Jesus "died in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since his." Mary did not despair in her sorrow and loss, since her faith and hope were sustained by her trust in God and the love she had for her Son.

The love of Christ enables us to bear all things
Jesus, in his grief and suffering, did not forget his mother. He entrusted her care to John, as well as John to her. No loss, no suffering can keep us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35-39). Paul the Apostle says that love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:3). We can find no greater proof of God's love for us than the willing sacrifice of his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, on the cross. Do you know the love that enables you to bear your cross and to endure trial and difficulties with faith and hope in God?

"Lord Jesus Christ, by your death on the cross you have won pardon for us and freedom from the tyranny of sin and death. May I live in the joy and freedom of your victory over sin, condemnation, and death."

Psalm 31:1-2,6

In you, O Lord, do I seek refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me!
Incline your ear to me, rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!
You hate those who pay regard to vain idols; but I trust in the Lord.

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Mary stood at the cross with her Son Jesus, by Ambrose of Milan, 339-397 A.D.

"Mary, the mother of the Lord, stood by her Son's cross. No one has taught me this but the holy Evangelist John. Others have related how the earth was shaken at the Lord's passion, the sky was covered with darkness, the sun withdrew itself (Matthew 27:45) and how the thief was, after a faithful confession, received into paradise (Luke 23:43). John tells us what the others have not told, how the Lord while fixed on the cross called to his mother. He thought it was more important that, victorious over his sufferings, Jesus gave her the offices of piety than that he gave her a heavenly kingdom. For if it is the mark of religion to grant pardon to the thief, it is a mark of much greater piety that a mother is honored with such affection by her Son. 'Behold,' he says, 'your son.' ...'Behold your mother.' Christ testified from the cross and divided the offices of piety between the mother and the disciple... Nor was Mary below what was becoming the mother of Christ. When the apostles fled, she stood at the cross and with pious eyes beheld her Son's wounds. For she did not look to the death of her offspring but to the salvation of the world. Or perhaps, because that 'royal hall' [Mary as bearer of the divine King] knew that the redemption of the world would be through the death of her Son, she thought that by her death she also might add something to that universal gift. But Jesus did not need a helper for the redemption of all, who saved all without a helper. This is why he says, 'I am counted among those who go down to the pit. I am like those who have no help' (Psalm 88:4-5). He received indeed the affection of his mother but sought not another’s help. Imitate her, holy mothers, who in her only dearly beloved Son set forth so great an example of maternal virtue. For neither have you sweeter children, nor did the Virgin seek the consolation of being able to bear another son." (excerpt from LETTER 63.109–11)


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author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers.  

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