Thursday, September 15, 2016

Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows

(I Corinthians 15:1-11; John 12:25-27)

In both Matthew’s and Luke’s gospels Jesus calls those who mourn “blessed.”  Who these people are is not clear in either account.  Are they those who mourn their sins?  Or perhaps they share the sorrows of the people around them suffering loss of one kind or another?  Today we celebrate Mary, the woman of sorrows.  There can be little doubt why she grieves.  Her son Jesus has died on the cross.  No mother takes the loss of a child that she has birthed and raised easily.  Losing such a perfect son as Jesus is that much more difficult to bear.

We too have lost someone special at the cross.  We did not know him then but from all that we have learned about him since, our loss is also deep.  He was like an older brother who, if he were here in person, would guide our way and support our weakness.  Then how could Jesus tell us that our time to rejoice?  Can we sustain such contrary failings for long?

We are to rejoice because Jesus is actually among us.  As St. Paul proclaims in the first reading, he has risen from the dead.  He is present in the care we give to the poor.  He is present when we hear the gospels and all the thoughts which echo them.  Most of all, he is present in the Eucharist which gathers us in love to provide us his physical body and blood. 

The Christian perspective has a dual focus.  It misses seeing Jesus as he walked upon the earth and waits anxiously for his promised return.  At the same time it rejoices to find him present in many ways beneath the surface of everyday life.