What is the Catholic interpretation of John 19:26-27?

John 19:26-27 (RSVCE)

26 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.1

1. took her to his own home: Joseph must now have been dead.

From say Church Fathers, saints, papal pronouncements, what is the deeper meaning of these words - especially where Jesus says St. John Behold, your mother! - and their application in the Christian life?

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    Hold on a sec; I think I found an answer from the National Catholic Reporter!
    – Double U
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 3:53
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    I think that as soon as you say "what is the Catholic interpretation of ..." it belongs here and not in BH. Hermenetics can answer what the text means (as understood by the person writing), but that need not be the Catholic interpretation. Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 4:51

1 Answer 1


Patricia Sanchez from the National Catholic Reporter connects the Eucharist and being at one with God with the events that led up to the Crucifixion.

Basically, Sanchez's logic goes something like this. We (Catholics) are in union with God by means of Holy Communion. This union is special, because it helps us become better people, and because it leads us to do the "right thing", even though the right thing may seem illogical and may cost our lives. The events that led up to the Crucifixion (the verses that lead up to John 19:26-27) show that Jesus's willingness to take the punishment for our sins is illogical, hence noble and admirable in an empathetic sort of way.1

A Catholic reference2 offers two likely interpretations of the verse. One is the literal interpretation: that Jesus is concerned for his mother. The other is the symbolic interpretation: that Mary, mother of Jesus, may be perceived to be the mother of all Christians, personified by the Beloved Disciple. Mary may be a representative to those seeking salvation, and she is supported by the disciple who interprets Jesus' revelation, or perhaps, the verses are about Jewish and Gentile Christianity being reconciled.2

I make a note that the National Catholic Reporter has received significant controversy from the Roman Catholic Church, because it promotes beliefs contrary to what the Vatican teaches. It merely gets its name, because it intends to write for progressive-minded Catholics or cafeteria Catholics.


  1. Sánchez, Patricia Datchuck. "And I In Them." National Catholic Reporter 46.14 (2010): 27. Academic Search Premier. Web. 17 Jan. 2015.

  2. http://www.usccb.org/bible/john/19:34


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