Commentary on the Gospel of
Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
There is much we can learn about the faith of Jesus’ mother. The focus on her faith amid her sorrows is where her life is most instructive for us. Mary reminds us that our problems are often minor compared to hers, but that is not the main message here. Sometimes our problems are actually worse. There are many young women Mary’s age who become pregnant out of wedlock and fear expulsion from their families, an uncertain future, or even stoning. There are many young mothers living in poverty who give birth for the first time without any assistance, facing a difficult life ahead. There are also too many mothers whose children have disappeared in crowds and fear they may have been kidnapped, or their children are taken from them at border crossings. There are also mothers who must see their sons accused of crimes they did not commit and sentenced to death. And finally, there are mothers who must watch their sons brutally tortured and put to death for their beliefs and perspectives. So, despite Mary’s many sorrows, she is not alone in the world of sorrows.
Yet Mary is a model of faith to be respected and revered. What I take away from Mary’s life is that no matter the sorrows she experienced, she continued to praise God because her faith in God was so strong. Continuously, despite many sorrows, her soul magnifies the Lord. She knew that there was a reason her life worked out as it did. She had faith that her life was part of something so much bigger. It wasn’t just about her, it was about the victory over the cross. Mary is a model of suffering as she inspires us to place our own human suffering in the context of God’s love for us and redemptive plan for all of humanity. Putting our pain in the perspective of Christ’s pain on our behalf lifts us up out of our despair if our faith is strong.
But the message I take away most here is in the Gospel message for today where Jesus places his suffering mother in the care of the also suffering disciple John. We often have difficulty rejoicing in knowing that Jesus loves and cares for us when we are in the midst of suffering and despair. That is why we need each other. On a very practical level, Jesus demonstrated at the very end of his life, amid his personal drama, that we are to care for each other. Like Christ, even during our suffering, we are to reach out to others who are suffering and care for them in whatever ways we can. As the community of Christ, we should be able to trust that others will also reach out to us. We ask Mary to weep and pray with us as we weep and pray with her and with others. Mary is a model for us in sharing grief with others while at the same time we can praise God for taking away the sorrow of our sins. Our faith is based on the way of the cross. It is the cross that is our victory over sorrow.
Today I pray with all the faithful, that we feel the love of Christ our Lord amid our suffering, and that we can be that love of Christ to the suffering of others. Amen.