Our Lady of Sorrows

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

“Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”
(John 19:26)

She stood at the foot of the cross,
With sorrow no mother could bear,
Consider that no greater loss
Could ever lead us to despair.

Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleopas, 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

Today’s Gospel passage of John on this poignant scene on the hill of Calvary may be short, but it unravels a number of insights in the life and person of our Lord Jesus and His Blessed Mother Mary. First of all, we can see that since none of our Lord’s other relatives were present other than His mother Mary and her ‘sister’ (cousin, actually), it is clear that Jesus had no other siblings, so that He had to entrust His mother to St. John, the apostle most beloved to Him. This would hardly have been permissible if Mary had another son or daughter, given the Jew’s very clannish culture.

In spite of the great suffering that our Lord was enduring, hanging on the cross, He still managed to show His great love and concern for the welfare of His mother, making sure that she would be taken care of by the apostle He fully trusted. This reminds me of a CNN report that said there are more than forty million widows in India left by their children to fend for themselves. I believe the example that Jesus set in regard to His Blessed Mother was an important legacy that He left for all Christian families.

It was hardly any easier for the Blessed Mother, whose heart, as predicted by Simeon in the temple of Jerusalem 33 years ago, was pierced by the sword of sorrow. As she bravely stood at the foot of the cross where Jesus hung dying, our Blessed Mother must have recalled the words of the old seer in the temple: “…and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:35) She had kept these things in her heart, and now she recognized their fulfillment.

Whenever we undergo our own doses of daily suffering, it somehow becomes a little more bearable when we recall that the Mother of God herself wasn’t spared of life’s tribulations. She had to endure first the trial and passion of her Son, and then His tragic execution by crucifixion. In fact, many swords still continue to pierce the heart of Mary today. The drugs and medical procedures that kill millions of the unborn each year; the injustice and oppression of Christians in many Muslim countries; the violence, murder, and degradation caused by narcotics; the corruption in government; our own apathy or indifference to the poverty around us — all the sins happening daily against love, justice and peace.

Our Church commemorates this day in honor of Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows. No one is closer to Jesus than Mary; consequently no one has participated more intimately in the redemptive suffering of Christ than His Blessed Mother. As we pray the holy rosary today, let us ask for our Mother’s intercession to help us imitate her and her Son, Jesus, Who endured so much pain and sorrow for our sake.

Let us pray: “O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” Amen.

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