The Fourth Station
Jesus and his Mother Meet on the Road to Calvary
To understand better this sacred encounter between Jesus and Mary we turn to the time when Mary and Joseph found the young Jesus in the Temple and the mystery of their son unfolds even further (Luke 2:41-52).
Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.
We must not forget that Jesus dies and rises at Passover time. Mary was faithful in making a religious pilgrimage to Jerusalem to join God’s people of Israel in celebration of the freedom and covenant with which God had joined his chosen people to himself. The surroundings and familiarity with the rituals (e.g. the Passover meal), hymns and prayers were not lost on her. She brought all this with her to this famous encounter with her Son. Included in her sacred memories was the startling words of the twelve year old Jesus when they found him in the Temple: I must be in my Father’s house. She knew that the same applied to what Jesus was undergoing at that very moment. She also realized that the mysterious will of the Father was for a good purpose for mankind. The deep meaning would be revealed in the near future. So on Mary’s lips this time was also “why?” She knew she would find the answer in the tradition of the Feast of Passover and its celebration of the Covenant. Soon the Apostles would tell her when she was with them in the Upper Room that Jesus the night before his crucifixion had said: Take and drink from this, all of you, this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you. Her cherished meeting with Jesus on the road to Calvary made a lasting impression on her for the rest of her life.
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