Our Lady of Sorrows

John 19: 25-27
Heb 5: 7-9 / Psa 31

He said to His mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’
(John 19:26-27)

Our Blessed Mother’s heart we pierce
When loving we no longer feel;
If we experience pains and fears,
Have faith like her, trust in God’s will.

Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. (John 19: 25-27)

Reflection

At the foot of the cross stood four women, and only one brave apostle. Aside from the traitor Judas, where were the other ten? This scene in Calvary bears significance when we consider that women are most often more active than men when it comes to church and parish attendance. Women always outnumber men in spiritual service and devotion. In our community, the ratio is almost two to one in favor of women. This is probably the reason why the Church is appropriately called the “Bride” of Christ, because there are more devoted women there than there are men.

Why did our Lord address His mother as “woman”, instead of “Mama” or “Mother”? It was as if He was distancing Himself from her at the most critical moment when they should be drawing closer to each other. It was because Jesus wanted her to realize that He was no longer just her son, but more importantly, her Lord and Savior, Who was dying on the cross for the salvation of all mankind. It was as if He was telling her, “Weep no more, dear woman, for I am now finishing the mission that My Father sent me to accomplish.” At the same time, Jesus was also reassuring her—“here is your son”– that she would be taken care of by His beloved apostle, John. And His last words to John, “Here is your mother” was both a command to John to take care of His mother Mary, and a legacy for all Christians to honor her as our own mother.

Our Mother Mary has indeed become the greatest symbol of faith and fortitude in the Christian world. Among her numerous attributes, she is also known as Our Lady of Sorrows. From the very start when she accepted God’s invitation through the Angel Gabriel to become the mother of mankind’s Redeemer, she must have had some premonition of the many hardships and heartaches that she would undergo. She would have been stoned to death (for being pregnant before marriage) if Joseph had not taken her into his home as his wife. She suffered the indignity of giving birth in an animal shelter. There was that horrifying experience of fleeing to Egypt during the bloody rampage of King Herod who wanted to murder her son. And finally, she kept in her heart the foreboding words of Simeon when they presented the infant Jesus in the temple: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk.2:34-35). This was the moment when those words came true, but she stood bravely at the foot of the cross, rising above her deep sorrow with the faith that she was also involved in her Son’s mission.

Let us pray the rosary everyday to honor Mary as our own mother, as our Lord Jesus gave her to us, and entrusted us to her. Countless miracles have been manifested through her intercession. It is but fitting to love and honor the Mother of our Savior.

Most loving Father, we thank You for giving us our Mother Mary to intercede for us in our times of great need and sorrow. Grant that she may no longer be known so much as Our Lady of Sorrows, but as Our Mother of Joy and Victory. Amen.

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