Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:25-27)
Today in the Church is the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross. An excerpt from the festal Gospel lesson (above) has the dying Christ telling His mother Mary that His disciple John is now her son and she, his mother. From the early centuries of Christianity, the commentators saw this as evidence that Jesus had no other true brothers and sisters despite statements such as Matthew 12:46 and 13:55, Mark 3:31-32, or Luke 8:19-21. These ‘brothers and sisters’ of Christ were thought to be stepsiblings (children of Joseph from a previous marriage) or cousins (since some extended families shared children as various contingencies arose with some children growing up in their adoptive families rather than with their birth parents. As an aside – when I was in Kenya as a missionary in 1978 I encountered this frequently in the village I resided in with some people totally unrelated by blood calling each other brother and sister and acting toward each other as such because they were raised in the same family despite being unrelated).
Origen (d. ca 254AD), writing in the 3rd Century, comments that all Christians become Mary’s children:
We might dare say, then, that the Gospels are the first fruits of all Scriptures, but that the first fruits of the Gospels is that according to John, whose meaning no one can understand, who has not leaned on Jesus’s breast nor received Mary from Jesus to be his mother also. But he who would be another John must also become such as John, to be shown to be Jesus, so to speak. For if Mary had no son except Jesus, in accordance with those who hold a sound opinion of her, and Jesus says to his mother, Behold your son. [John 19:26], and not, ‘Behold, this man also is your son’, he has said equally, ‘Behold, this is Jesus whom you bore’. For indeed, everyone who has been perfected no longer lives, but Christ lives in him [Galatians 2:20], and since Christ lives in him, it is said of him to Mary, Behold your Son, the Christ. (Commentary on John). (ON FIRST PRINCIPLES, pp lxxiv-lxxv)