When the time is right Jesus heads towards Jerusalem. As we all know it ends with his crucifixion. At the foot of the cross stood Mary, Jesus’ mother, Mary Magdalene and other women. The disciples had fled leaving only the women and the youngest disciple – who would not be arrested on account of being women or under-age.
The account of Jesus’ words from the cross given in John’s gospel (John 19:25-27) were the words spoken to himself:
“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”
Quite apart from Jesus caring about those left behind more than about his own agony hanging on a cross, this tells us a crucial thing:
Mary, being Jesus’ actual mother, was his responsibility. It fell to him to decide what to do for her welfare. Mary did not belong to any of Jesus’ brothers’ households because she was not their actual mother; they were Joseph’s grown up children. Jesus gives Mary to ‘the disciple whom he loved’, the person to whom he was closest to care for Mary as a mother. Thus, John takes Mary into his household and becomes responsible for her. This shows that Mary was, in fact, the mother of only one child.
The young disciple John, the one who Jesus loved and Mary his mother understood Jesus’ mission on a level that the others did not understand. There can be an intimate joining of souls that has both meaning in life and eternal significance. Both of their lives were completely given to what Jesus stood for.