Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
Hebrews 5:7-9; Psalm 31:2-3, 3-4, 5-6, 15-16, 20; John 19:25-27
Who is the one person who was there with Jesus from the very start up to the very end, and even up to now moving on to eternity? It is Mary and no other. In looking to Jesus’ humanity, she preceded Jesus her son. By the action of the Holy Spirit, it was she who gave life to Jesus. And it was she who was there at the end of Jesus’ earthly life. “Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother ….” (Jn 19:25a).
Jesus loved and honored his mother. He was a good son to her as he lived his hidden years prior to his public ministry. And so before his death, he looked to her welfare, entrusting her to his disciple John. “And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” (Jn 19:27b).
But it was not a simple matter of providing for her housing and sustenance. Jesus set up an intimate family relationship. “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’” (Jn 19:26-27a).
Now we too are disciples whom Jesus loves. And on the cross, Jesus gave us two great gifts—the gift of salvation, and the gift of his mother Mary. As we take on the salvation won for us by Jesus, we become reconciled to the Father. Once again we are truly children of God. God is our Father. Jesus is our brother. And of course, Mary is our mother.
All children go through some trials and pain while growing up and going through life. Even Jesus, especially as he faced the passion. “In the days when he was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death” (Heb 5:7a). Who is there to care for and console children? It is their mothers. But mothers themselves can be the cause of the suffering. There are those who abort their unborn child, those who abuse or abandon their children, those who simply neglect to care for them. There is one mother who will never do those things, but will only truly care for us. It is Mary.
God has a purpose in allowing His children to suffer, just like His own Son. “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” (Heb 5:8). Suffering is salvific. Suffering helps us grow in holiness. Suffering will bring us to Christian perfection, just like Jesus, “when he was made perfect” (Heb 5:9a). We of course look to Jesus in times of distress. “In you, Lord, I take refuge; …. For you are my rock and my fortress” (Ps 31:2a,4a). We put our trust in Jesus, as we put our lives in his hands. “But I trust in you, Lord; …. My destiny is in your hands” (Ps 31:15a,16a).
But even as we look to Jesus, we also look to Mary. Mary is Our Lady of Sorrows. Her heart was pierced by a sword. She witnessed the brutal treatment and murder of her son. She certainly empathizes with the suffering of us, her children. Jesus and Mary go together—whether in being obedient to God and fulfilling His will, whether in suffering and embracing the cross, whether in enjoying the blessings of family. Jesus himself knows the comfort afforded by a loving mother. And so he gives us his own mother to be our mother. “How great is your goodness, Lord” (Ps 31:20a).
As a true disciple whom Jesus saved, loves and provides for, go and take Mary into your home.
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God bless you.
“For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.” (Phil 1:21)