September 15, 2020 (Our Lady of Sorrows)
Woman behold your Son
Dear friends in Christ, what sorrow can surpass that of a mother watching helplessly her child in the pains of death. Think of the sorrows of many mothers sitting by the bed of their dying children, unable to help the situation, simply content with praying that a miracle does happen. Think of the situations of many mothers in the war-torn areas of our world today, watching their children helplessly gunned down or battered by bombs, mothers who are taking the risky trips, in search of safer environments for their kids. The one who truly feels their pain is the one who has been through it all, the new Eve, the Mother of Jesus.
Today we celebrate Our Lady of Sorrows, just a day after celebrating the Triumph of the Cross. The devotion flourished in the Middle Ages and the song which we sing at the Stations of the Cross devotion, “The Stabat Mater—At the Cross her station keeping” was particularly composed for this devotion. The hymn reflects on the sorrows of the Mother of the Lord, while His passion lasted.
Today’s first reading (Hebrews 5:7-9) tells us that in the days of Jesus in the flesh, he had to offer prayers and supplications to the one who could save him from death. In this, his moment of sorrows and preparations in the garden of Gethsemane comes to mind. Again and again he prayed to the Father, that the cup of suffering might pass him by, but submitted to the will of the Father—“Not mine, your will be done.” The author of this passage sums it up saying, “Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.” By our obedience to Jesus we also are made perfect by carrying our own crosses and following his path.
In the Gospel (John 19:25-27) we come to the peak of the sufferings of Jesus and that of the mother. Under the shadow of that cross were, “his mother, and his mother’s sister; Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” Like we pray at the Stations, “It is harder to watch the pains of those we love, than to bear our own pains.” The sorrows of the Mother increases that of the Son. Two hearts united in love for the salvation of the world but also united in suffering. Mary bore it all with great courage. She had been warned at the presentation that, ‘a sword will pierce her own heart also.’ Now it has come! She got in place of her son, a disciple, but now she becomes the Mother of all disciples, her sorrow magnified. Soon after as in the pieta, she will be handed the lifeless body of her Son taken down from the cross.
Think now of the sorrows of many mothers around the world. How have you contributed to such sorrows? What can you do to give the mothers around you, joy in place of sorrow and sadness?
"Is there one who would not weep, whelmed in miseries so deep, Christ's dear Mother to behold." May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.