“Woman, behold thy Son…then to the disciple, behold thy Mother”
Christ crucified beholds us in his love for the Father. At one point he looks down from the cross. He looks down upon us and bids us look upon one another. It is the third word from the cross: “Woman, behold thy Son; and then, to the disciple, behold thy Mother.” These are, we may say, the words of the Good Shepherd. They are the words of his care for us.
The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He does not flee like the hireling – the wage slave – in the face of danger. No. The Good Shepherd endures the danger and overcomes it. His endurance means his suffering and death. His victory means his resurrection and life. He lays down his life for the sheep so that his life might live in us. That life is the life of the resurrection. It flows out in his care for us through the Church.
We hear talk all the time about “caring communities”. But I wonder if we know what it really means. We forget, I think, the lessons of the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, there can be no true caring without the care of Christ. The crucifixion and the resurrection reconstitute the human community and give it life and meaning.