OUR LADY OF SORROWS (JOHN 19:25-27) – 15 SEPTEMBER
MARY suffered terribly at the foot of the cross as she watched her son die an excruciating death. She showed her son her love in the only way she could, by her presence with Him. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, she had eyes of faith that believed God’s plan was coming to fruition, even though it was nowhere to be seen. She cried out at the injustice, but she believed that the power of God would overcome death.
Surrounded by Jesus’ persecutors, Mary herself called to join with Him in His prayer: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). If any sense of condemnation had been in the cry in her heart, Mary would not have been in union with Jesus. Only by turning to the Holy Spirit in her could Mary forgive and bless in the face of complete injustice, hatred, and violence.
All of us will experience the rebuff of others at some time. But can we remain at the foot of the cross with Mary and forgive those who hurt us by their words of deeds? Mary accepted Jesus’ invitation to take His “beloved disciples” as her son, and in doing so, she accepted all His disciples as members of her family. Even now, thirty-three years after the angel’s first visit, Mary again was called to lay down her own ideas of family and of what she wanted for her life. And again, her doing so was the fruit of the Holy Spirit in her.
We, too, are called to love all men and women who call themselves Christian. Are we willing to follow Mary’s example and embrace all of God’s family, setting aside our prejudices?
Many people who are close to us, even we ourselves, will face suffering. We will find it hard to understand why things that seem unfair and painful happen to us and to those we love. Today’s feast, however, reminds us of the grace of God at work in Mary as she shared Jesus’ suffering. Mary encourages us to face our sorrows also with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Jakarta, 15 September 2014
A Christian Pilgrim