Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
(I Timothy 4:12-16; John 19:25-27)
The son of an eighty-plus year-old man just died. The father says that it is hard to describe the loss he feels. Every day his son used to call him at noon. Now noontime, like a bell without a clapper, rings completely hollow. We can imagine Mary at the cross, far from glorying in her son’s triumph over sin, feels the emptiness of most parents of dead children.
In the gospel Jesus entrusts his mother to his beloved disciple. The act not only guarantees her welfare but also, in a more profound way, represents the beginning of the Church. Mary will form, in a sense, the heart of the community by not only remembering Jesus’ earliest days but also revealing the significance of his mission.
Many old men and women sit alone in apartments and nursing homes. Their physical needs may be provided for, but they need to hear the voices of people who care about them. We will never replace a son or daughter who is no longer or perhaps never was there for them. But like the beloved disciple to Mary, we may provide some consolation.