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Scriptural Stations of the Cross: Station 12

March 6, 2013

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Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Disciple.

As you enter the church of the Holy Sepulcher, to your left is a small Armenian shrine.  There are no icons or pictures in the shrine itself to mark what this spot commemorates—just a tall, round stone structure with arches.  The presence of a blazing candle-stand and a ring of hanging bronze lamps, however, mark it off as a sacred spot.

This is the place where, tradition tells us, the faithful women watched as Jesus was crucified.  His mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, and other women were kept at a distance from Christ’s execution, but they stood there in grief, able to see and hear everything.

The Apostle John stood nearby as well.  Seeing them, despite his agony, Christ called out, not just asking, but telling, John to regard Mary as his mother, and Mary to regard John as her son.

By his words here, Jesus set his mother and his beloved disciple into a new caring family, one not based on ties of blood, but on ties of faith—the same ties that bind God’s children together.

When the Iraq War broke out, Dominican sisters in Wisconsin realized that there were other Dominican sisters in the Middle East, and began a campaign of buttons and bumper stickers that read, “I have family in Iraq.”  Their definition of family extended not just to the religious sisters, but to all Iraqi Christians—and indeed, to all of God’s children in Iraq.

Let us remember as we pray for peace that we too have family in Jerusalem.

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