Friday, 15 September 2017 : 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 we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, which is related to the Feast which we have just celebrated the day before, that is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. And while yesterday we rejoice in the glory of the Holy Cross and the triumphant victory which our Lord Jesus Christ had won because of His sacrifice on the Cross, today we remember that behind the Cross, precisely at the foot of the Cross, was Mary, the mother of our Lord.

For Mary was ever faithful and devoted to her Son, Whom she followed throughout His life and ministry in this world, ever loving Him and caring for Him at all times, even to the point of following Him to the Cross at Calvary. It must have been painful and unbearably excruciating for a mother to have to witness her Son being made to suffer, tortured and rejected by the people whom He had loved, and the pain which Mary had felt upon seeing the nails piercing the hands and the feet of her Son must have been tremendous.

This was what the prophet Simeon had foretold to Mary and Joseph, at the time when they brought the Baby Jesus to the Temple to be presented to the Lord. He foretold that a sword would pierce the heart of Mary, the mother of our Lord, but through that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed. It is the thought which Mary always had for her Son, ever placing Him at the forefront of her mind, and the care and love He had for her, which she now shows us from her wounded heart.

Therefore, today, all of us look upon Mary, the Mother of our Lord and God, whom her Son had entrusted to us as our Mother, and vice versa, that we have also been entrusted to her as her adopted children. And in her we see the sorrowful eyes which have gazed on the suffering of her Son, as He took up His cross, walking the long path from Jerusalem to Calvary, seeing her Son rejected and trampled upon, loathed and made to suffer, bearing the burdens of our sins, the entirety of mankind’s unimaginably huge burden of sin.

Therefore, that is why the sorrow of Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows is clear, even unto this very day, because even though God had loved us and He even willingly laid down His life for our sake, sacrificing Himself on the cross for us, but we continue to sin and commit what is evil in the sight of God, refusing to obey God and His laws, and continuing to do what is against the Law of God.

Every single sin that we commit, every single one of our failure in doing what we could have done to obey God’s will, are every wounds that have been inflicted on our Lord Jesus Christ, the wounds and the whiplashes that tore at His Body, which made Him to suffer and to bleed. And all of these brought more sorrow to our loving mother, who loves each and every one of us just as she loves her Son.

Yet, we mankind continue to walk down our path towards destruction, by our ignorance of the Lord’s ways and teachings, by our refusal to repent and to turn away from all of our sinful ways. That is also why Mary made so many appearances in various times and places, including at Fatima, which centenary of her Apparition we celebrate this year.

Every time Mary, our mother made her appearance, she called upon her children to repent from their sins and to turn away from their wicked ways. She showed them the horrors of hell and what awaits those who are not faithful to God. That is because each and every one of us are precious to her, for she is our mother, and she loves us just as she loves and tenderly cares for her Son Jesus. She does not want even a single soul to end up in the damnation of hell.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect on the great sorrows of Mary, our loving mother and the mother of our Lord, who have witnessed just how great the love God had for us, that for our sake, He was willing to die for us, that each and every one of us may have life in us, let us all therefore spend some time to think about what we have done in our lives thus far, and what we have not done in accordance with God’s ways and teachings.

Let us from now on turn ourselves wholeheartedly and completely towards the Lord, our God, and through the guidance shown upon us by His mother Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, may all of us be able to find our way to the salvation and eternal life found in Him alone. Let the sorrowful heart of our loving mother Mary remind us of the need for us to reject all forms of sin, and live with faith, zeal and devotion from now on.

May all of us draw our attention to the Blessed Mother Mary, and through her may all of us find our most direct path to her Son. May the Lord continue to bless us and be with us all the days of our life. Amen.

Friday, 15 September 2017 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 19 : 25-27

At that time, near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister Mary, who was the wife of Cleophas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw the mother, and the disciple whom He loved, He said to the mother, “Woman, this is your son.”

Then He said to the disciple, “This is your mother.” And from that moment the disciple took her to his own home.

Alternative reading

Luke 2 : 33-35

At that time, the father and mother of Jesus wondered at what was said about the Child. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, His mother, “Know this : your Son is a Sign; a Sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a Sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”

Friday, 15 September 2017 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 30 : 2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 15-16, 20

In You, o YHVH, I take refuge, may I never be disgraced; deliver me in Your justice. Give heed to my plea, and make haste to rescue me.

Be a Rock of refuge for me, a Fortress for my safety. For You are my Rock and my Stronghold, lead me for Your Name’s sake.

Free me from the snare that they have set for me. Indeed You are my Protector. Into Your hands I commend my spirit; You have redeemed me, o YHVH, faithful God.

But I put my trust in You, o YHVH, I said : “You are my God.” My days are in Your hand. Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, from those after my skin.

How great is the goodness which You have stored for those who fear You, which You show, for all to see, to those who take refuge in You!

Friday, 15 September 2017 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hebrews 5 : 7-9

Christ, in the days of His mortal life, offered His sacrifice with tears and cries. He prayed to Him, Who could save Him from death, and He was heard, because of His humble submission.

Although He was Son, He learnt, through suffering, what obedience was, and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation, for those who obey Him.

Thursday, 15 September 2016 : 24th 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, following after yesterday’s major commemoration of the triumph of the Holy Cross, we remember our Lord’s sorrowful mother Mary, also known as our Lady of Sorrows. We know Mary as the Mother of our Lord and God, but at the same time, she herself had endured such a great suffering and pain, after having brought up her Son in love, she had to witness how her own Son suffered and eventually died on the cross.

And Mary herself had known this ever since she was chosen by God to be the one to bear the Saviour of the world. God made it known to her through many means that her role would not be an easy one, but would be filled with challenges and sorrow would also fill her heart, as the prophetess Anna and Simeon the prophet would say to her that a sword would pierce her heart, even as she and St. Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple to be offered and presented to God.

She knew that her role and work in this world would not be an easy one. Many strange happenings occurred ever since the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her. Three wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to her Son at His birth, proclaiming Him as Lord and the long awaited Messiah. But no one normally would give a gift of myrrh to someone, as it is a substance usually used in the preservation of the body of the dead.

And Jesus was lost in the Temple for three days, and when Mary and Joseph found Him, He spoke of having to be in His Father’s house. All these pointed to the very unusual role that Jesus, the Son of Mary would do in order to save all mankind. And as He grew up to be a Man strong and blessed by God His Father, more and more miraculous and great deeds He had performed, to the amazement of many, and as He embarked on His mission to save the world, throngs of people followed Him.

Throughout all these, what did Mary do? If we read from the Gospels, we would see how Mary kept all of them in her heart, and put her trust in the Lord over all the things that happened, knowing fully that the Lord had His plans for her, and through her obedience and the love which she had for her Son, Jesus, she followed through everything faithfully, and eventually, walking the same path of suffering, following Jesus on His way to the cross.

A mother must have loved her child, and that could not be more true in the case of Mary, in her love for Jesus her Son. No mother should ever see or witness her child suffers, and yet there was Mary watching the whole scene of how her Son suffered at the hands of His persecutors and enemies, casted out, rejected, spit against, and tortured, and she had to bear the agony of watching the great agony of her Son Jesus as He laid hanging on the cross at Calvary.

And she bore it all with faith, with strength and courage that few if none could match. Sorrowful as she was, and filled with agony as she was, she never once lost hope in her Son, knowing that what He has done, He did in order to save all of mankind, the mission for which He had come into this world for. And as a loving and devoted mother, Mary devoted herself to the mission which has been entrusted to her, that is to love her Son with all of her heart.

How is this relevant to us, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is relevant because the sufferings of Christ are our sufferings, for He Himself had borne all of the consequences and punishments for our own sins and wickedness. And Jesus Himself had entrusted His mother Mary to us and we all to her at the same time, when He laid dying on the cross, and spoke to her and to His disciple St. John the Apostle and Evangelist.

At that moment, He entrusted Mary to John’s care and vice versa. And through that very act, He therefore also entrusted her to us as our mother as well, and all of us were entrusted to her same loving care, the very same one she had shown to her Son Jesus. And if Mary sorrowed because of the pains and sufferings that Jesus suffered which is our sins, then should we all not take heed and learn that the more we sin, the more we cause sorrow to our beloved mother?

To that extent, she has appeared many times over the centuries, in the numerous apparitions approved by the Church, foremost and most renowned of which are the apparitions in Lourdes and Fatima. And in all of these, she appeared before some of us, speaking and calling fervently for our repentance, and for us to turn our backs to sin and abandon our wickedness, that we may find our way back to the Lord and His merciful love.

Mary is our greatest intercessor and help before God, for she alone stood nearest to the throne of God’s Mercy, as she is His mother, who have interceded for our sake for a long, long time, praying for the sake of each and every one of us. Shall we then appreciate what our beloved mother Mary had done for us? She has loved us all just as she loved her Son Jesus, and she wants all of us to be saved, and not to suffer as her Son had suffered, which He did for our sake.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us ask Mary, our Lady of Sorrows, to pray for us, while we ourselves do our best and commit ourselves to repent from our sinful ways. Sorrowful and with grief we walk through this life, that one day our sorrow and sadness may be lifted from us, and that God will replace these with the joy and happiness of His everlasting grace. Mary, o our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Thursday, 15 September 2016 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of our Lady of Sorrows (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 19 : 25-27

At that time, near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister Mary, who was the wife of Cleophas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw the mother, and the disciple whom He loved, He said to the mother, “Woman, this is your son.” Then He said to the disciple, “There is your mother.” And from that moment the disciple took her to his own home.

Alternative reading
Luke 2 : 33-35

At that time, the father and mother of Jesus wondered at what was said about the Child. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, His mother, “Know this : your Son is a sign, a sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”

Thursday, 15 September 2016 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of our Lady of Sorrows (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 30 : 2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 15-16, 20

In You, o Lord, I take refuge, may I never be disgraced; deliver me in Your justice. Give heed to my plea, and make haste to rescue me.

Be a Rock of refuge for me, a Fortress for my safety. For You are my Rock and my Stronghold, lead me for Your Name’s sake.

Free me from the snare that they have set for me. Indeed You are my Protector. Into Your hands I commend my spirit; You have redeemed me, o Lord, faithful God.

But I put my trust in You, o Lord, I said : “You are my God;” my days are in Your hand. Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, from those after my skin.

How great is the goodness which You have stored for those who fear You, which You show, for all to see, to those who take refuge in You!