Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Reflection: John 19:33-35

Our Lady of Sorrows — John 19:33-35

Yesterday we celebrated the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. Thus, it seems fitting that on this day we celebrate this Marian feast. The Gospel for the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is the familiar scene of Mary, Jesus’ mother, Mary’s sister and Mary Magdalene standing at the foot of the cross. They were keeping vigil with Jesus as he was dying.

Clearly, Jesus was concerned for his mother and for her future. When Jesus saw his mother and the “disciple whom he loved,” he said to his mother: “Woman, behold your son.” Then Jesus looked at the disciple and said: “Behold your mother.” How typical of Jesus to be concerned with Mary. John took Jesus at his word. And from that time, he took Mary into his home.

Imagine the pain, turmoil and suffering Mary must have endured as she stood at the foot of the cross. Her child was being crucified with criminals. She was losing her only son! How could this be?

We all realize that life is not always easy. There are many gifts that we receive and experience each day. However, the time will come for all of us when we also will endure a significant and perhaps tragic loss. These times in our lives truly are times of sorrow and suffering. If our loss is not “age appropriate” or if it is tragic, we likely may be angry with God (and understandably so).

At these times, we can turn to Mary. Mary experienced many joys but also deep sorrow. Yet Mary continued to trust God’s presence with her and within her. Mary had been through so much in her lifetime. She had experienced great confusion and fear when the angel appeared to her. Despite her amazement and fear, she remained open to the message the angel delivered to her. Then she had to face Joseph with the news that she had become pregnant by the overshadowing of the Most High. She had to have been afraid that Joseph would cast her aside. Yet Joseph, being a good and upright man, stood firm in his commitment to Mary. Together, Mary and Joseph watched their beloved son grow and mature into adulthood.

At various points in her life, Mary must have been amazed, confounded and confused. Yet she continued to trust God and believe that God would grace her with the insight, courage and strength that she needed in each particular situation. Mary is the perfect model for all of us, whether we are male or female. Today I invite you to spend some time with Mary. It may be to reflect on today’s Gospel passage. Or perhaps you want to have a conversation with Mary. Or you may simply ask Mary to be your companion as you journey through life. Mary will not disappoint you!

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