Saturday, 15 September 2018 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, the day after we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation and the Triumph of the Holy Cross, we commemorate the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. On this day we remember the sorrow, anguish and pain which Mary, the Mother of God and Our Lord Jesus Christ experienced, when she saw her beloved Son suffering the pain of the crucifixion.

We can just imagine the greatness of the sorrow and anguish she experienced as a mother, who had to see her own Son suffering, and dying on the Cross. This is especially coming from a mother who is exceptionally loving towards her Son, having been the one who raised Him up and protected Him throughout life, and who journeyed with Him throughout the years of His ministry among the people of God.

She saw how her Son obediently followed the will of God, His Father, in taking up humbly, all the sins of mankind, as what He has been sent into the world for, and by taking all of those sins upon Himself, He let Himself be humbled, be humiliated and stripped off completely of any glory, privileges, and even basic human dignity, as He was tortured and spat upon by the people and those who have condemned Him to death.

This is what the prophet Simeon had spoken, in one of our two possible Gospel passages today, when he spoke to Mary, about the heart of Mary that would be pierced by a sword, to show the extent of pain and anguish she would suffer, in seeing her own Son suffering to such an extent. The sorrow which Mary felt must indeed have been very great. And yet, she remained true to her commitment to God, and in her love for her Son.

Most importantly, Mary has seen the suffering that her Son suffered, the sufferings that were intended for each one of us sinners. And this is why, we have seen many Marian apparitions throughout many centuries, especially at times when we mankind are undergoing periods of troubles, wickedness and evil. Mary appeared to us, as a loving mother who is concerned with our actions and our sins, our lack of faith and our apparent path towards damnation.

Why is that so? That is because, as we heard in the Gospel passage today taken from the account of the crucifixion by St. John, we heard how the Lord Jesus entrusted His mother Mary to the disciple He loved, that is St. John himself, and then also entrusted St. John to Mary, His mother, that she might be his mother and that he might be like her own son. In this way, the Lord has actually entrusted her to all of us mankind, to be our mother, and vice versa, that all of us have been entrusted to her as her own children.

You can imagine the kind of sorrow that Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows has experienced, when she saw all the sins that we continue to commit in our lives, all the actions lacking in faith and in all the vile deeds and wicked words we uttered, even among us all who have been considered as members of God’s Church, as baptised Christians. Many of us have not lived in accordance with what God has called us all to be, and our attention, heart and mind have not yet been centred on God.

Unless something is done, many of us, through our sins, are on our way to eternal damnation, because of all the good things and deeds which we have been told to do, and which are indeed our obligations as Christians, and yet which we have failed to do. Many of us have sought not true satisfaction in God, but rather the entertainment and the merrymaking ways of the world, seeking to satisfy the pleasures and desires of our flesh and bodies, and in how we ignore the plight of those who are crying out for justice and for our help.

In this context, how can Mary then stay silent in the midst of all these things that happened? How we mankind treated one another with contempt, with hatred, with jealousy, with ignorance of the sanctity of human life, when we cause suffering upon others, and even loss of life, just so that we might get what we wanted and satisfy our greed and pride? That was why Mary made her appearance at Fatima in Portugal, during the height of the First World War, calling for the conversion of mankind, and for them to turn away from their sinful ways.

She knows that if nothing was done for them, and they continued to walk down the path of sin, then what lies in the end will surely be the pain and eternal suffering in hell, when because of their sins, there would be those who encounter downfall into that state of eternal despair and rejection by God. As a mother, she cannot bear to see us suffer in the same manner as that of her Son, and therefore, she continues to pray for us, to guide us to the right path, to follow her Son, and find our way to salvation in Him.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, as those whom the Mother of God herself has considered as her own children, are we then so insolent and ungrateful, so as to make our dear mother even more saddened by our actions and wicked deeds? If we truly love God, we will also love His mother, and vice versa, and how do we love God and His mother Mary? It is by genuine conversion of heart and renewed commitment to live and serve the Lord at all times.

Let us all repent from all of our wicked ways and turn away from all the sins which we have committed in life thus far. Let us all have faith in God, and let us all grow to love Him more and more, and draw ever closer to Him, with each and every passing moments. May the Lord bless us all, and may He continue to guide us all through life. O Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us sinners always, that we will no longer add more sorrows to your grieving heart, through our conversion of hearts. Amen.

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