Mary and John
willpick asked this question on 8/10/2000:
If Jesus had brothers, why did He entrusted Mary to the disciple rather than to a brother ? It is hard to imagine why Jesus would have disregarded family ties and made this provision for His Mother if He had brothers. Also this was against Jewish law.
Trying to answer your question originates some ramifications.
Saint Bernard from Clairvaux proffers a theological reason. He says that it was convenient that a man (who according to tradition was virgin, not a frequent occurrence between Jews) should receive the Virgin Mother in his house.
We could think of a sentimental reason because John was the disciple Jesus loved.
Remember to that Jesus once indicated his hearers around him (the disciples were there) saying that those who hear the Word and practice it are His mother and sisters and brothers. That would be a family of faith.
Regarding his "brothers" (you know that there is no word in Aramaic for cousin, all are brothers of the big family which is the "sub clan") Jesus was not very loved. The believed even that he was insane and came to take him home. And they dared Him to go to Jerusalem when it was dangerous.
Eusebius from Cesarea tells that later on Jacob, not the Apostle, and others of Jesus' "brothers" suffered persecution because they confessed their faith in Christ.
Finally we should remember that Saint John is a great theologian. He describes two episodes where Jesus’ solemn word is "Woman" and not "Mother". The first sign he realized in Canaan. He apparently doesn't accept her suggestion. "Woman... my hour hasn't arrived yet" The Fathers of the Church say that it was like saying: "When the hour comes from then on you can ask anything". She told the servants to be ready for the sign. What faith!
At the moment of "the hour" there are five messianic moments in relation with Jesus crucified. One of them is when He calls His Mother with the solemn title "Woman". What is his intention? The Fathers of the Church say that the messianic meaning was that from then on all faithful were spiritual children of His Mother. Saint Bernard exclaims: "What an interchange: the servant en lieu of the Lord!"
Important scholars establish the relation of this text with "the Woman" whose Son would be the enemy of the serpent and squash its head and "the Woman" of Apocalypses.
So it’s not really about observing family traditions but about teachings regarding the relation of the Mother of God with the salvation of men through our only and one Savior Jesus Christ.
Thank you for the occasion of remembering the role that Mary plays in the life of salvation.