March 25, 2013
Obedient surrenders and Good Friday
By Jason Godin *

By Jason Godin *

This week Christians will weep within shadows cast by the Crucifixion before shedding tears of joy outside the empty tomb that radiates the Resurrection. As we find, in prayer, Mother and Beloved Disciple at the foot of the cross on Good Friday, we discover the path to eternal glory made manifest on Easter Sunday. We also learn along the way some truths about Mary, the apostolic tradition, and how our lives must be formed and informed by obedient surrender to Christ.

Gospel accounts reveal that among the people present at Golgotha on Good Friday were the Blessed Virgin Mary, his mother, and John, his Beloved Disciple. According to the Gospel of John, Jesus spoke directly to both of them from the cross.  “Woman, behold, your son,” Jesus said to the Mary before turning to John and continuing, “Behold, your mother” (John 19:25-27).

These seven simple words – “Woman, behold, your son” and “Behold, your mother” – speak about deep relationships grounded in obedience. They’re ties beyond compliance, submission, or duty. They’re forged by love that Jesus has for Mary, John, and importantly, each one of us. Over the years, I’ve found these bonds still best explained in the book Death on a Friday Afternoon: Meditations on the Last Words of Jesus from the Cross (Basic Books, 2000) by the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus.
Fr. Neuhaus proposed that the mother-son relationship shared between Jesus and Mary – “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man” according to the Nicene Creed – illustrates an obedient surrender to the “infinitely greater will” of the Heavenly Father (p. 76).  The mother always stands near the center of salvation history of her Son, saying “yes” at the Annunciation, instructing Cana wedding waiters to “do whatever he tells you” with her last documented words (cf. John 2:5), and standing in sorrow as her Son hung on a cross. 

Such obedient surrender also explains, although in a different dimension, the nature of the relationships shared between Jesus and all Christian followers. Good Friday found John taking Mary into his home (cf. John 19: 27). The Catechism defines this new association forged by Christ as the start of a “spiritual motherhood” that “extends to all men” (CCC, 501). By taking the Mother of God into his home, John served as more than support staff. He modeled discipleship for the Church for all time.

Fr. Neuhaus eloquently centers obedient surrender on the love shared between a parent and child. “To be a child again, one must be the child of another parent. As an adult, one can only surrender in the way that a child surrenders, if one surrenders to a love that comprehends all. In short, such a surrender means becoming a child of God” (pp. 100-101).

The obedient surrenders witnessed at the foot of the Good Friday cross changed lives. They transformed a young man into a disciple “child” with a new spiritual mother, who was long ago changed by her first “yes” to Christ. Turn Good Friday into a great day for your faith by letting obedient surrenders begin to change your life, too.

Jason Godin teaches United States history at Blinn College in Bryan, Texas. You can find him on Facebook here.

« Previous entry     Back to index     Next entry »
Ads by Google
(What's this?)
blog comments powered by Disqus


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 4:1-20


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 4:1-20

Text only

Follow us: